3/26/2005

Registering for Grief?

Today I was at Target (one of my favorite stores of all time, by the way) and ran into a young woman in my ward who is getting married. She and her fiance were "registering," that very strange act that informs people which gifts are appropriate. She was in a horrible mood, because she and her man were tired of trying to decide exactly where to point that little scanner gun. We were in the storage aisle, DH and I picking out toy storage, she and DF (dear fiance?) trying to decide which storage bins would best serve them throughout their married life. It got me to thinking about registering, and my own experience with wedding gifts. We received a lot of platters, which we would have returned in a heartbeat if we knew from whence they came. Who needs this many serving platters, especially THIS one shaped like a giant fish? Why do people get us these things? Why don't they pick specifically from the registry? Isn't that what it's for? Well, it's 8+ years later, and we love that fish platter. We use most of the platters regularly. The fish one is a great size, and is absolutely perfect for serving shrimp and/or crab. If we had returned them, as had been our original thought, we would have been far more stressed for several small parties we have thrown over the years, and probably would have dished out the money later for the very serving platters we rejected. (Although I don't think we would have ever picked out the fish one. But seriously, it's a great dish). So I started wondering, and now I send that wondering on to bloggers everywhere...is it better to let a couple of twenty-somethings decide what they need for their married life, or better to let experience guide the gift giving? Do I buy the specific storage bin that was on the registry, or go with the great kitchen shears that I know they will love in later years? I know a couple that turned in all their registration credit, and simply bought a big screen TV for their wedding gift. I think they will regret that decision in the future, perhaps when they want to have a formal dinner and they have no china, or possibly when it comes time to bathe, and they realize they have no towels. Of course registration is necessary if you want people to buy you a specific china pattern, or towels a very specific color to match the horrific bathroom that seems to be required in all first married apartments. But I also know that I opened present after present that I hadn't registered for, and I did not recognize their value until long after I was married. I also loved the gift of cash, which I thought was very thoughtful (and still do, especially if the couple has to travel right after the wedding), but now realize that I spent the money on thoughtless things. I know it's weird to have an epiphany in Target, but it struck me as very metaphorical for life. We pick out the things that we think we need (Hey! Look at this basketball! Point the scanner there, honey!), but more experienced people give us the things that we'll actually use (Did we register for this knife set?). Sometimes we have to give up and have faith that others actually know more than we do, and we have to let them guide us. Also, many of the choices that stress us out so badly (Do we need the big storage bin or should we get the one with the drawers?) really are insignificant in the long run. It just seems that so often in life we are so stubborn about the choices we made long ago, and hold on to them so tightly, we don't realize that all we are really doing is just "registering" for grief in the long run.

9 Comments:

Blogger Heather O. said...

Wiz-

Nice post. Good thoughts. It's often hard to trust others with experience when you are eager to start on your own adventure. I think your post could apply to the Gospel as well. It's hard to trust the Lord when he tells you that you will need those kitchen shears, despite the fact that you really want the big screen T.V. Why are we so hesitant to trust others over ourselves, or why are we so dismissive about what others who have experience tell us? Scriptures have shown us time after time that trusting in the arm of the flesh leads quickly to despair, and yet I think we all still do it so often. Is it pride? Ignorance? Common variety I-need-Dr.-Phil-to-solve-my-trust-issues trust issues? Maybe all of the above?

Anyway, good thought provoking post.

But FYI, we have not yet missed the rooster platter we gave to my parents.

3/27/2005 10:11:00 PM  
Anonymous claire said...

I'll go on record as being firmly against gift registries, but will admit to looking at the list if I don't know the recipient or their taste very well to get ideas.

3/28/2005 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

I like the gift registries, because it saves me money. We get invited to a lot of weddings and that can really add up.

I don't think it matters much what you start out with. When I married my first husband, we eloped, and got exactly two presents: an electric fry pan and some towels. We had one blanket, one set of cheap sheets and two pillows. We were so poor. It didn't matter, really. When you are young, it doesn't matter as much.

Now, I still don't have a set of china. I have some heavy stonewear that I bought at Albertson's on one of those deals where you spend $10 and get a plate. Those are my good dishes. I have lots of sheets and towels and blankets. It's nice.

I would pick a TV over china. Gotta have that Survivor.

I guess I will experience the gift stuff with my daughter. I don't get it. She will probably look at it quite differently than I do and want the matched china.

3/28/2005 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

I like the gift registries, because it saves me money. We get invited to a lot of weddings and that can really add up.

I don't think it matters much what you start out with. When I married my first husband, we eloped, and got exactly two presents: an electric fry pan and some towels. We had one blanket, one set of cheap sheets and two pillows. We were so poor. It didn't matter, really. When you are young, it doesn't matter as much.

Now, I still don't have a set of china. I have some heavy stonewear that I bought at Albertson's on one of those deals where you spend $10 and get a plate. Those are my good dishes. I have lots of sheets and towels and blankets. It's nice.

I would pick a TV over china. Gotta have that Survivor.

I guess I will experience the gift stuff with my daughter. I don't get it. She will probably look at it quite differently than I do and want the matched china.

3/28/2005 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

Annegb --

I remember often going to the store (Alpha Beta in our case) and eagerly awaiting receiving the next plate in our set of "china." My mom did this twice. It cracked me up to read that you have plates like that too, and brought back a lot of memories.

3/28/2005 06:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Mathew said...

Why don't people look at the gift registry? They could be like my mother who buys 10 of 12 wedding gifts at a time, has them wrapped keeps them in her basement, ready to be dished out to one of the never-ending stream of couples that parade across her refrigerator.

3/28/2005 09:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think registries are tacky - telling people what gifts you expect them to buy for you. Ick. I know its become a tradition, but I just really chaff against them. Tacky, tacky, tacky...

3/29/2005 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Amy Lynn said...

I have been married for 5 and 1/2 years and we STILL haven't found a use for the 2 frightened looking squirrels on the stone flower vases we were given by my great aunt Puffy (who I didn't know existed until she came through our reception line, pinched my cheeks and kissed my husband). I know now to just wait it out and see what the years reveal to me about her life experience and wisdom. Still waiting...

3/31/2005 12:21:00 AM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

Amy Lynn --

Ok, some gifts have no wisdom to offer. I will accept that. Maybe eBay knows someone who likes frightened squirrels on vases. It's a great way to turn the unreturnable gifts into "the gift of cash."

3/31/2005 01:11:00 PM  

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