Graduation Registries and What the Experts Think

Each year it seems like people find more and more ways to register for events and milestones. Way back in 2015 we covered why baby showers are intended to be for the parents and, thus, thrown on the occasion of the birth of parents’ first child.

Just because the option to register is there doesn’t mean you must accept.

Retail stores exist by making money. Registries allow the customer to select for himself or herself items they would like to receive. Once the items are marked and the registry distributed, purchases of those items is all too easy, resulting in profits for the retail store.

Aside from the common baby shower and wedding registries, I’ve now seen graduation, divorce and first home registries. It seems like the expectation has been set that people believe themselves of not only deserving of a gift for any and every occasion, but they also seem to believe they have the right to dictate what people give.

We are not entitled to have other people support our lifestyle.

Registries have not always been common. For two occasions, I believe it to be perfectly acceptable to have a registry: your wedding/wedding shower and your baby shower.

Never, though, should the registry be on the actual inviation. Additionally, even with a registry, people are welcome to give anything they wish, and all gifts are deserving of a thank you note.

When you have a registry, it’s important to not only have a wide range of costs for the items, which allows people to pick their price point, but it’s important to keep in mind the tone of the registry.

I’ve seen registries that have a preface of something like, “Thanks for viewing our online registry! We aren’t into ‘stuff,’ so check out what you can get us!” This is usually followed by “Buy a portion of the newlyweds’ couple massage” that offers a way to purchase said gift in $50 increments. There is no personalization to this, and the message is cold.

I know there will be plenty of opinions on this, but I believe it’s important to pay attention to not only what we’re saying but how we’re saying it.

Here’s a quick link to further explain why graduation registries are a no-no.

“When I hear people are creating registries for high school graduation, I hear ‘Gimme, gimme, gimme,’ as opposed to congratulations,” said Lizzie Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post and co-author of  Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition (Emily Post’s Etiquette). “They are absolutely not appropriate.”

Ms. Post, I agree. Thank you for reading!

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Mass Thank You Notes

Today’s post is brought to you by a reader’s comment from this post. I thought it was such an important topic, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t already touched on it!

A common trend to escape actually writing thank you notes is for the recipient of a gift to send a group email or send a thank you note to everyone from work/church/etc. This, though, defeats the purpose of the thank you note, which is to express genuine thanks specifically to a person or family. The most people you should include on a thank you note would be everyone who resides in a single home. So, sending one to Uncle John, Aunt Sue and cousins Mark and Maggie is acceptable. Sending one to all 15 members of the IT department is not.

One minor exception would be to send a group email expressing thanks before following up with a hand-written note.

Ideally, a thank you note is physical (not electronic); it is to one person or family; it is handwritten.

The note doesn’t need to be lengthy. Let the giver know how the gift will be used and that it is appreciated. I always suggest adding in that you appreciate that they attended/missed them and one other personal thing in the note.

Thank you for the topic suggestion!

Baby Showers

I’m going to explain the WHY behind having only one. Unlike other etiquette lovers, I will give alternatives.

This post will also be followed up with a wedding shower etiquette post. If you can’t tell, I’m hesitant about writing this, as I truly do not want to offend anyone. However, I’ve had a lot of messages asking me to write about this, so since you asked, I will deliver.

Many people simply have never heard you do not have more than one baby shower, per etiquette. Why? Mainly it’s because they mistakenly think the shower is for the baby, so each baby should be equally celebrated. However, the shower is for becoming a parent. But don’t lose hope! There are other opportunities to celebrate a child’s birth, an occasion most deserving of celebrating.

The shower itself, for starters, should always be given by friends, not family. The reason behind this is the same reason as why you only have one: it looks as though you’re simply asking for gifts. Also, the shower should never cost the guests to attend, so consider this when planning one at a restaurant. The hostess(es) should cover the tab. PLEASE keep in mind that regardless of number of babies, if you want to do so, it is ALWAYS appropriate to get a gift for the baby. To help us move away from this trend, I would LOVE to encourage
you to do so. This is definitely an appropriate way to celebrate the baby.

Speaking of gifts, many etiquette experts say to not register, as it’s also asking for gifts. As I’m just a lover of etiquette, not an expert, I disagree on this one. I think it can make selecting a gift easier. Of course, this does NOT mean you have to follow the registry when purchasing a gift, and people should not be offended when someone purchases a gift not from their registry list. Some people love picking out a gift withoutbaby shower the help of a list, and that is just fine. It’s truly the thought behind the gift that matters.

If you want an alternative to a shower, consider a “sprinkle.” This is also debated in etiquette, and I elected to not have one, as this is too similar to a shower for my comfort. Essentially, this would be a get-together for only family and very, very close friends. Think, 10 people. There is usually a theme, such as diapers and wipes. Or some other usable good that you likely do not have left from your first child.

If that doesn’t suit you, a “Sip and See” is also an acceptable alternative for a second child. This would take place after the child’s birth. Generally, tea, coffee and suitable food is served. Everyone has the opportunity to see the new baby and celebrate him or her being born. Most people bring a gift for the baby.

Additionally, groups of friends can also get together and bring several meals for the freezer or go in together for a larger item, no party needed.

Another reason I have decided to write this is I have witnessed and heard murmurings about people having second showers. No, etiquette cannot make someone not have a shower; however it can enlighten you on why people may elect to not attend a second shower, should you have one.

Regardless of it’s a shower or a gift dropped off at the house, any gift should be accepted graciously and considered just that: a gift. Also, anything you receive is worthy of a thank you note!

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20% off Just One You by Carter’s. Valid 6/11-6/17

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A Simple RSVP

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RSVP. Repondez s’il vous plait. Please reply.

‘High society’ adopted French etiquette in the 18th century, leading to the common RSVP on invitations. If an invitation simply states RSVP, you should reply within a day or two of receiving an invitation. This is a primary example of WHY invitations are not to be sent months in advance of an event. In the case of larger events, such as weddings, a ‘save the date’ may be sent.

Commonly now, ‘regrets only’ is on the invitation for less formal events. Personally, I’m not a fan, nor was Emily Post (though the same cannot be said for her granddaughter-in-law, Peggy Post). If this is on the invitation instead of the traditional RSVP, it’s exactly as it seems: you only reply if you are unable to attend.

Do you have any specific RSVP questions? Feel free to ask!