So, I have to admit when it comes to gift-giving I am really on the fence between Miss Manners' opinion that giving your friends and family a shopping list (gift registries, wishlists, etc.) is rather crass and has the feel of invoicing them in an impersonal fashion, and the view that quite often people miss the mark on gift-giving and lots would really like some sort of guide.

I understand the sheer relief of not having to think too hard about getting a gift that someone needs or wants, but I also understand the notion that a gift should be something that prompts you to think about your gift-ee, and select something that you think they would like and that would be a surprise, or that they wouldn't think of on their own.

I am not, however, down with the notion that not shopping off a registry is something horribly selfish, unlike this commenter on a wedding blog:

(First comment is to give context.)

Brytani writes:

We registered at Macy’s, Wal-Mart, and made one online for furniture where anyone could contribute any amount to certain items. We listed all three on all of our invitations (wedding and showers) and I can honestly say that out of dozens of gifts, we only got about four things from our registries. While I was okay with that because about half of our guests and loved ones gave us cash, I was baffled by people who would approach me and say, “we don’t want to just get something off your registry, tell us what you really need.” I mean, there were people who were just against the idea of buying from a registry in general. I don’t know if they felt it was impersonal somehow or what but I remember a handful of people asking me where I was registered and then getting me kind of random gifts from different places. It didn’t irritate me or anything (although we spent about a week afterward finding odds and ends we didn’t need and figuring out ways to return them) but I guess I thought when I registered those ways that at least most of our gifts would wind up being from them.

Fenna Blue writes:

People are against buying from a bridal registry for the same reason they will ignore a baby shower registry: Gift giving is not actually about giving YOU what YOU NEED, but it’s about THEM buying what THEY LIKE for you. Gift giving is the most selfish thing we Americans do.

ETA: *heart palpitations* Oh dear Lord! This is from another comment on the same post
We also put a PayPal link on our wedsite...
I cannot tell whether the idea of dunning your guests for donations or the concept of "wedsite" for "wedding website" is more abhorrent to me. *twitch*

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