A baby gift registry is a great tool for letting shower guests know what you want or need and for reducing the number of duplicate items that you receive.
- Decide what items you want or need. If you start by walking into a store or logging on to a website, you may feel overwhelmed by all the choices and be easily drawn to items that are a waste of money. Most stores will provide a list to get you started, but remember that they have a financial motive in encouraging you to select everything under the sun. So before you create a registry, do your research. Talk to experienced friends and check out the book, Baby Bargains by Denise and Alan Fields, for the scoop on what baby items are really worth spending your (or someone else's!) money on.
- Decide whether you want to use the big stores, the boutiques, or both. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of the big stores (such as BabiesRUs and Wal-Mart) are that they generally have a large selection, low prices, several locations, and they maintain your registry online, making it easy for out-of-town guests to buy gifts and also easy for you to make any changes. Disadvantages are that the salespeople may not have the specialized knowledge you need, you may encounter errors on your registry (wrong color or pattern or the item gets purchased but is not marked as such), and the printed lists are usually full of abbreviations, which can be confusing and tedious for guests to sort out.
Advantages of the local boutiques are that you'll likely receive more personalized customer service from knowledgeable salespeople, the stores usually only carry high quality products, and they often have products not found at the big stores. Disadvantages are that the store may have a smaller selection, it may have only one or a few locations, the items may be more expensive, and the registries are often not online (though guests can still call the store to buy from the registry).
- Go to the store (or get online) and create your registry.
If you register at the big stores, just walk in and get started at the customer service desk. They'll give you a handheld scanner that you'll use to scan whatever you want as you walk around the store. The item codes are then uploaded to the store's database so guests can print out a copy of your list at the store or find your list online. If you don't have time or energy to go into the store, you can easily create a registry online--just go to the store's website and look for a "registry" link.
If you register at a local boutique, just walk in and ask a salesperson for help. They likely don't use handled scanners but they will have a reliable system for keeping track of what you want and when it gets purchased.
- If you and your guests are Internet savvy, consider using MyRegistry. This website allows you to register at any store in the world, whether they have a website or not! It tracks everything you want all in one place, which is extremely useful if you are planning to register at more than one store. MyRegistry is free, it's easy to create the links, and your page can be password-protected. Guests can buy items online using the links provided or can go directly to the store and buy items in person. As long as guests use the system as instructed, it will correctly track which items are purchased.
- Select items in a variety of price ranges. Wherever you register, choosing items that vary in price ensures everyone can buy you something at a price that fits her budget.