High school graduates create online gift registries

Etiquette experts weigh in on the growing trend

CLEVELAND - It's a tradition that is normally used for weddings and baby showers, but now, high school graduates are using gift registries to pick out what they need for college or the real world. From college dorm room supplies to computers, students are asking for it all, but not everyone is on board with the growing trend.

Tamira Ford can't wait to start her freshman year at Miami University this fall.

"Basically, you're starting all over. It's your first chance to be on your own. So it's a new experience for me. So I'm just kind of looking forward to it," said Ford, who is finishing up her senior year at Padua Franciscan High School.

She is hoping that guests at her high school graduation party will help her gather all the essential supplies she needs for college, from lamps to laundry baskets, and maybe even a microwave.

"I plan on registering at Walmart and Target because it's convenient for everyone and it will be easy to find stuff like bed sheets and everything that I'll need for my dorm room," said Ford.
    
Ford is one of thousands of students trying out this new trend. Stores like Bed Bath & Beyond , Nordstrom , Walmart , Target and The Container Store have graduation registries and wish lists. Online options include web sites like DormCo.com and MyRegistry.com .

Ford said it's a win-win for graduates and party guests.

"With the family, they'll know exactly what to get you and what not to get you. They'll know your style and you don't have to worry about getting stuff and having to return it later on because you don't want it," said Ford.
    
Nancy Lee, president of MyRegistry.com, said she believes if people are going to give students graduation gifts, then they might as well get students what they really want.

"Graduation is a gift giving occasion and with the heavy expense of college tuition, spending money on what a student will actually need can be very beneficial to that family," said Lee.

Students can also create a Cash Gift Fund for some bigger ticket items that may be too expensive for one person to purchase. Friends and family can easily donate funds for a new computer or airplane tickets students may need to fly off to college or fly home for the holidays.

However, etiquette experts said, not so fast. Colleen Harding, with The Cleveland School of Etiquette, told us there is a proper protocol for graduation gift registries. For starters, graduates should make sure their requests are within reason. Don't register for anything too expensive.

"It is one of those things that's very very dangerous, because you can offend your guests in record-breaking time if you cross the line," said Harding.
    
According to Harding, it is OK to create a registry. Just don't put it on the actual graduation invitation. You should wait for your guests to inquire when they RSVP to the party.

"It is perfectly acceptable for you to receive an invitation and RSVP for it and say, I see that Madeline is going to college. We'd like to attend the graduation party. By the way, what does she need?" said Harding.

There is good news for future graduates. Harding doesn't rule out the possibility of these registries becoming more acceptable in the future.

"Etiquette changes and evolves just like everything else," said Harding.

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