Kids' Birthday Gift Registries: Parents Take on Trend

Would you set up a birthday gift registry for your child?

— -- People are used to gift registries for weddings, but the wish lists are now becoming popular for a completely different kind of event: children’s birthday parties.

Just ask Cheryl Kaplan, the mother of 10-year-old Einav. Kaplan’s daughter is figuring out what she wants for her big day at Stoopher & Boots, a Manhattan toy store.

Einav is just one of many neighborhood children who go to Stoopher & Boots and write their birthday wish lists on index cards that let shoppers know exactly what they want for their birthdays.

Kaplan said many of Einav’s friends’ mothers, and the girl's relatives, will call her to ask what her daughter wants.

Kaplan said the registry really helps.

“I know that they really appreciate it ... especially if the older aunts and uncles are maybe not so in touch with the clothing or the toys, so they want to know what to get,” Kaplan said. “They’re happy if I tell them what to get. And they know they got something Einav wanted, so I think it’s a win-win.”

Stephanie Goldstein, who owns Stoopher & Boots, keeps the wish list index cards on file so family and friends can use them as shopping guides.

Goldstein said the service is “pretty popular,” adding that she has about 100 cards on file.

“We’re kind of known [as] the store where people go for their birthday gifts, and people know that we’re going to know what that child wants,” she said. “And not just what they want but what people have already bought for them, and we try to keep track of that so someone’s not getting multiple of the same gift, so we don’t have as many returns. And it also helps the child get a variety of different gifts.”

"Our lives are so hectic right now, and anything that can save us a little bit of time, we’re all in for," she said.

Not all parents think this is a good idea, though. Some have taken to social media to bemoan the trend as being crass.

One poster wrote: “Whatever happened to, ‘You get what you get, and you don’t get upset’?”

Ericka Souter, an editor at the website Mom.me, said she had reservations when she initially learned about the trend.

“You always run the risk when kids get to make these gift lists," she said. "They feel entitled. They feel that they should get everything on it, and that can create a problem if you are not setting the right limitations, if you do something like this.”

While she acknowledges that there are "some merits" to the idea, she still doesn't think it's a good thing.

"There are some things about birthday parties that shouldn't be so planned out and so expected from a kid's point of view," she said. "They should be surprised when they open their presents, and your friends and family members shouldn't feel pressured to get things on that list."

Parents who plan to set up a registry for their child should set ground rules, she added.

“They need to, No. 1, let them know there are price limits to what they should put on the list," she said. "No. 2, [kids need to know] that they won't get everything on that list. And No. 3, they should be grateful for whatever comes their way."

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