Ah, interwebs… You never cease to entertain me.
The other day I was mindlessly trolling Feedly, when I came across this post from Jezebel:
I clicked on the link, and prepared myself for feeling morally superior in every way. And then… not so much.
You see, the Nightmare Parents in question have sent an email out to everyone invited to their child’s birthday party with very specific instructions for gift giving. There are only four items on the list. That’s it. Only four, and pleas not to deviate from this list in any way, shape, or form. Other highlights include:
On straying from the list:
If you are unable to get these items, please let us know so that we can buy them right away for him.
It should be noted that none of the requested presents are imminently life saving. We’re talking about a water table or a play tent here. Where is the urgency, I wonder?
On including receipts with presents not on the list:
When we return items without receipts, we only get about 50% of the value, so it is like throwing away money if you don’t include the receipt with the gifts.
Most people harbor the illusion that their gifts are so fabulous, returns will be unwarranted. No one buys a present and thinks “I’m so happy I’m going to be throwing away money on this present for XXX!”
On encouraging literacy:
We suggest no more books beyond the Cheerios one cited above. Right now, XXX has 32 board books on his shelf, and 25 additional books waiting for him in storage.
The book nerd in me thinks 32 isn’t enough, but we all have our preferences.
On permission to buy anything else than what is on the list, just in case you were thinking about it:
Please let us know if you have any questions about any items not on this list that you are considering purchasing, and we can let you know if we already have it or if is in storage waiting for him.
Noted. Do not stray from the list. This couple has a magical, never-ending storage facility somewhere that produces age appropriate toys upon request.
As much as I think this is nutty, I also saw a wee bit of myself in this– particularly after creating the registry this weekend. There is just enough pragmatism to this that I can see how they justified it. I mean, I get the impulse. If people are going to be spending the money on you, you might as well get what you think you need, right? I would be lying if I said I didn’t think some of these exact same thoughts. The only difference is that this couple had the balls to write it down and hit send.
Lost in all this, of course, is the very purpose of gift giving. It is meant to honor the person receiving it as an expression of love from the person giving the actual present. On a large scale, none of this is really about the accumulation of things. It is about showing support. It is about caring. Ultimately, who the hell cares if this couple gets a 33rd book (NOT THE CHEERIOS ONE!) if it comes from a place of enthusiasm for the future happiness of their kid?