Thursday, August 18, 2011

4 Unusual Wedding and Baby Gift Registries

wrapped baby shower gifts

I used to hate the idea of gift registries; I wanted to surprise the bride and groom, or the parents-to-be. But over the years I've realized that getting people what they really want is a good idea; who wants to create clutter for someone else? And you can always personalize the gift, as barnone notes on MetaFilter:
One way to be both personal and on target is to base a gift off the registry, and add a little something extra. ... If she registered for a coffee pot, get that, a set of filters, and a pound of artisanal coffee.
But what do you do if you're the person creating the registry, and you don't really want the traditional household gifts? I've already mentioned charity registries like the I Do Foundation. But a bride-to-be was just asking me about registries, and I found some more appealing ideas.

1. Foodie Registry
It's only in four cities right now, and the list of restaurants is a bit sparse in some — but I sure like the idea of registering for gift certificates from nice restaurants.

2. Sound Trading Co.
If you live in Seattle, this might work for you. Sound Trading Co. allows you to select items made locally from environmentally sound materials — for example, plates made from recycled glass. You can also get things like a membership in a CSA, and a "wine trail experience." For babies, you'll find things like an infant-sized hoody, made from recycled designer adult sweaters. There's also a birth doula package; since that's expensive, you can buy just a share of the package cost. [via Seattle Bride Magazine]

3. nAscent Art
This site lets you register for the gift of original art "by the best emerging artists in New York City." [via Springwise]

4. Alternative Gift Registry
I love this site, which lets you register for traditional gifts such as housewares — and enter a note explaining why you selected that item, as you can see in the sample wedding registry. But you can also list things like museum memberships or a state/national parks pass. Here are some other samples I've seen.

From Jeremy and Jessica: Arts and Crafts.
So many of my friends are such brilliant artists! I would really love a work of theirs, maybe a painting or a drawing or a framed photograph.
From Jackie: Local wines, cheeses and other food items.

From Heidi and Liz: Donations to favorite charities, and a subscription to the New York Times — and help with their upcoming move!

And on the baby gift front, I love how Rebecca and Chris asked for bibs: "Handmade, hand-me-down, or new." Similarly, one of the items Katherine asked for was second-hand clothes. Another item on her list was "lunch or dinner the first few weeks."

Have you given or received any non-traditional wedding or baby gifts? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments!

Related Post:
Wedding Gift Registries: Choose Wisely and Avoid Clutter

[Photo by terriseesthings, found on Flickr, licensed through Creative Commons.]


Amanda said...

I learned how to knit some darling baby booties and I give those as gifts. They are tiny so they don't take too long, but the fact that I made something by hand means a lot!

JustGail said...

My favorite gift for baby showers is onsies in sizes for the future. It seems most clothing gifts are for the newborn. When my DS hit a growth spurt, it was nice having some in the next size on hand. He literally would grow out of a size in a couple of days. If onesies aren't the recipient's style, any clothing in larger sizes are nice.

JustGail said...

I forgot to add that I don't mind registries, especially if I don't know the recipient that well. Sometimes the money-in-the-card just isn't quite right. I've always been uncomfortable at the thought of giving something that's not wanted/needed which means I wasted my time, energy and money getting it, and the recipients time, energy and money dealing with an unwanted item.

Jeri Dansky said...

Amanda, hand-made useful things can be cool gifts. I don't knit myself, but I have friends in France who received gifts of baby blankets and toddler sweaters knit by my college roommate.

JustGail, nice idea about the larger-sized clothes! And your last sentence in comment #2 is a gem; I'm going to be quoting you on that one!

Cynthia Friedlob said...

The Alternative Gift Registry is a great idea! And I love it that people asked for help with their move and lunch or dinner the first few weeks home after giving birth. Those kinds of hands-on, personal experience gifts are often far more important to the recipients than more stuff. Also, a NY Times subscription is a big ticket item, so why not ask for help with something like that if you really enjoy it? Brilliant.

Jeri Dansky said...

Cynthia, I thought of you as I was writing this post; it seemed like something that would appeal to you. I'm glad to hear I was right!

Susan said...

Wonderful post, as always, Jeri. Happy to know our other online exchange was part of your inspiration! Best to you and others looking to make giving and receiving satisfying in all directions.

xine said...

My friends all chipped in and bought me X meals from a personal chef for a baby shower present. AMAZING! A full freezer was such a load off my mind.

Jeri Dansky said...

xine, that does indeed sound like a wonderful gift!