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Should kids register for gifts?

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Bob Moon: So you thought you were done with gift giving? Well, if you’re a parent of a young child — and there seems to be something in the water around here at Marketplace — you can probably expect to attend several birthday parties in the coming year. And that means presents. But oh, what to buy that 5-year-old you don’t know very well — a book, a toy, a t-shirt? A growing number of parents say they’ve got a solution: Gift registries for kids.

Sally Herships has more.

Sally Herships: I’m in Maplewood, N.J., about to hit a party.

People singing “Happy Birthday”

It’s for one-year-old Asher Friedland. He has an older sister, so his mom Danielle has lots of birthday experience. But this year, she tried something new: Registering for gifts for both kids.

Danielle Friedland: My daughter’s five. She doesn’t tell me that much about her friends.

Friedland says picking out presents for other people’s kids can be tough. Registries, she says, are convenient. So, are gift registries for kids tacky or do they just have a bad rap? Time for another party.

Birthday boy Dovid Lavender is two. His family lives in Brooklyn. While his mom Nora cooked lunch for the partygoers, she told me a registry could seem rude. But she likes the idea of being able to suggest presents.

Nora Lavender: We have limited funds so the idea of saying, “These are the kind of clothes we like” has some appeal to it, although I didn’t register for him. It’s probably the tacky factor, although I registered for my wedding, so I guess it’s not that different.

Or is it? I’m still confused. So I asked Amy Dickinson. She writes the syndicated “Ask Amy” column.

Amy Dickinson: In my view, the whole idea of registering for gifts for a one-year-old is cuckoo, crazy.

Dickinson says a birthday for a young kid should be a family celebration, not a gift grab. And she says parents who register could miss out.

Dickinson: I’m a mother of five. And I might want to give your one-year-old something that you haven’t thought of.

But Asher’s mom, Danielle Friedland, says she tried to make her kid’s registries thoughtful. And she only gave out information if people asked.

Well, at least there’s one group who just doesn’t care.

Herships: What did you get?

Child: Cars! Spider Man! Toy Story!

I’m Sally Herships for Marketplace.

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