Now don't get me wrong, it was most definitely NOT an order sheet. It was a wish list. There's a difference. I wasn't saying to my family by writing this list that I expected to have all of the items on my list awaiting me beneath the tree on Christmas morn. In fact, that was actually part of the fun. The not knowing. I knew that I would get something from that list, but I never knew what. It could even be a few somethings, but never more than that. For me, it helped to build excitement. For my family, it helped them to focus on a few things they knew I really wanted and would enjoy.
Online gift registries, like on Amazon.com, are the Montgomery Ward catalogs of today. I have read several articles, posts and comments arguing that the Amazon wish list and other online gift registries not only take the fun out of purchasing a present but that they basically feed the self entitlement monster that our youth seem to be struggling with more and more. I disagree. Families or friends who don't see you regularly enough to know what you or your children are into or what gift would be appreciated are left clueless without some sort of hint. That's not a recipe for fun; it's a recipe for frustration.
And feeding self entitlement? Bah! No company gift registry is the force behind that. That, my friends, is on us as parents. If we allow our children to write up an order for Christmas instead of a wish list, that is on no one but us. It's up to us to bring excitement, anticipation, appreciation and responsibility to it. If I were to indicate to my crew either by word or deed that I would fulfill every want they put to paper (or email or text or online list), that is only training them to expect that whatever they ask for shall be delivered. I would be failing them. And it would be an epic failure. It would be setting them up for a lifetime of disappointment when time and time again the big bad world doesn't cater to their every whim and desire, and I love them too much to do that. Dreaming and wishing is part of the magic of the holidays...and of childhood for that matter, and I encourage it wholeheartedly. It's our job--not that of Amazon, not Macy's or Toys R Us --to outline expectations.
So... let kids be excited and create lists and hope and wonder and dream. Wish away.
What's your opinion of the online wish list or gift registry? Do you think it takes the fun out of gift giving?