Vanquish Gift Overload

Boy with pile of presents

Too Many Gifts = Too Much Clutter!
This Year Create a Gift List for Your Little One’s Birthday

They say you should never look a gift horse in the mouth. It sort of makes sense; after all, who wants to look any horse in the mouth? Seriously, though,  when it comes to our kids, it’s time to discuss the g-word: gifts. Whether it’s holidays, birthdays, or Toy-For-No-Reason Tuesday (thanks, Grandma and Grandpa!), receiving gifts is an ever-present part of many children’s lives...pun intended.

But for a variety of reasons, lots of parents and guardians don’t want to be accumulating more stuff at such a high rate. For those of us in apartments, space is at a premium, so the items that come into our homes need to be carefully chosen. In many households, it’s become common to request no gifts at birthday parties, or at least to make them optional. Even in homes with plenty of space, some families are choosing to forgo as many gifts as possible -- to avoid clutter, to prevent children from being overwhelmed, and/or to cultivate an atmosphere of gratitude, among other reasons. After all, who wants a Dudley Dursley or Veruca Salt on their hands? 

At the same time, it’s easy to understand why so many folks want to give gifts. Families are more dispersed than ever, and especially during Covid, visits may have been extra rare in the past year. Grandparents and other relatives may be across the world, across the country...or, ahem, across town...and wanting to send some tokens of their affection. Even for those who don’t usually have the love language of gift-giving, right now, it’s one way loved ones have of reaching out.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to throw all caution to the wind and brace yourself for a lifetime of stepping on tiny Legos in the middle of the night. There are quite a few websites and apps out there that help you and your child create an easily shareable wishlist of things they want and need. (Like that Lego issue - here’s our favorite solution if there’s no room for a Lego table; consider adding it to your child’s wishlist!)

There are benefits to using a wishlist beyond preventing your home from overflowing, too. Gift-givers can rest assured that they’re choosing the perfect present for your child, and those who don’t know your child as well (families of other children in their class, distant relatives, etc.) won’t have to take a wild guess. We picked four commonly used options for list-making; they’re far from the only ones, but they provide a nice range of options, display styles, and account setups.

Amazon logo

Amazon Wish List: Whether you love them or hate them, it’s hard to argue that Amazon is ubiquitous, and their wish list feature is no exception. If you tend to default to the Amazon app when ordering anything from groceries to gadgets, then this is probably the option for you. Amazon does a few neat things to incentivize people to use their lists: a 10-15 percent completion discount to purchase your own registry items that other folks didn’t, free 365-day returns for store credit (and no, the gift giver never finds out), and a universal registry option that lets you add items from other sites. 

Pinterest logo 

Pinterest: You came for the crafts. You stayed for the home design ideas. Now, you can use Pinterest for yet another reason: wishlists! You’ll need a Pinterest profile to create a board, and from there you can start a “group board” and add anyone you like as a collaborator. They’ll see your kiddo’s gift list as a photo-rich bulletin board; no need for them to create an account. The only downside is that givers can’t “check off” the gifts purchased to avoid duplicates, so you’ll either need to curate the list yourself or prepare yourself for the dulcet tones of Dueling Hatchimals.

goggle logo 


Google Sheets: Spreadsheets might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about birthday or holiday gifts, but they just might be the simplest solution, using a platform that lots of folks are already familiar with. You can assign different columns to different family members to share everyone’s lists at once, add checkboxes so gift givers can check off gifts once they’re purchased, hyperlink specific items directly from the document, and securely share the list with anyone, whether or not they use Google.

myregistry logo This all-in-one website wins major points for convenience. It’s a universal gift registry like Amazon, meaning you can register for gifts from any store, online or brick-and-mortar, but they’re not associated with any particular vendor. You can add experience gifts, travel gifts -- even a cash gift fund, to help save for college, summer camp, or, uh, a PS5. (Hey, no judgment here.) You can keep the registry private to those with the link or let folks search for it, and there are so many ways to share it: a customized URL, printable announcements, e-cards, social media, and embeddable code for a website. There’s a mobile app for easy access, and they’ve even created their own browser extension for one-click list additions.


Does your family have your own way of sharing gift lists? Please comment below and let us know how you handle the presence of presents!

Written by: Melissa Holman-Kursky  •  Photo by: Vlada Karpovich from Pexels  •  Illustration by John Stocker

Gifts Illustration

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