“Stuff” or money?
The old gift registry debate—is it
impersonal to provide a preselected
list of “gifts”?—has been replaced by
a new one: does the couple ask for
gifts from the registry or contributions toward a honeymoon, house, or
(gulp) paying down student loan debt.
Registering for “wrappable” gifts can
be a lot of fun—browsing through
your favorite store with a scanning
gun that makes you feel like a superhero, or sitting with a laptop, clicking all the kitchen gadgets and throw
pillows—but if your apartment is a
studio, your cooking skills max out
at pouring cereal, you can’t imagine
ever needing a linen napkin (
mono-grammed or otherwise), and you’d
really like to go to Hawaii, money
might seem a lot more practical.
Linda Marx, for the New York
Times, claims in “Passing on Wed-
ding Gifts, Millennials Prefer Cash,”
while it was once considered tacky to
ask for money, younger generations
are changing the etiquette. “When it
comes to registering for gifts, a gen-
erational sea change has developed,
with more and more millennial cou-
ples asking their guests to consider
holding the gravy ladles and shelving
the dishes in favor of gifts of a very
different sort,” says Marx, who says
they prefer “cash, home-repair gift
cards, and lavish honeymoon experi-
But it’s not just twentysomethings
who don’t want crystal and china.
Couples who get married later in
life may already have all they need—
hutches and silverware drawers are
full, houses are furnished, and walls
are decorated. So, gifting an experi-
ence may be more appreciated. Many
registry websites have buttons guests
can click to fund honeymoon trips:
e.g., they can buy the newlyweds a
whale watch tour, a salsa dancing les-
son, or tickets to a show.
As Marx says, “The wedding-gift
concept has morphed into doing
what makes the couple happy.” That
may mean a new blender, or not.
Whatever you choose, remember
your manners. Give guests different
price options, so those with less disposable income can still contribute.
And, if Aunt Gert gives you a slow
cooker you didn’t ask for, tell her it’s
just what you needed, and try making
some chili cheese dip in it. You’ll never be sorry you did.
Rebecca Cuthbert lives, writes, and cares
for shelter dogs in Dunkirk. She is a frequent contributor to Buffalo Spree and