When most of us think of registries and showers, we pair them with weddings and babies. But there are so many other lifetime milestones that it’s silly to limit them—especially for those who aren’t interested in married or having kids. You might feel weird considering asking for gifts or praise on other occasions, but it’s not that far-fetched. People give you presents every year on your birthday because, what, survived 365 days? Why not register for your other notable accomplishments?
“Every milestone means that the people who love you and care about you want to do something for you,” said Nancy Lee, president of MyRegistry. She pointed out that in the 1930s, wedding registries seemed gauche. Baby showers also seemed suspect just a few decades ago. Now, she sees registries for people getting new apartments, teachers stocking their classrooms, and employees moving to new offices, and non-profits looking for support. And even more importantly, if you think people might be looking to buy you a gift for a life event, making a registry will simply help them. They’ll have a better idea of what you want, and they can also avoid buying you the same thing that someone else bought for the same occasion. (And, of course, making the registry doesn’t mean you need to push it on people.)
Here are a few instances when you should consider making a registry, or even throwing a shower.
Make a gift registry if you go to school
Whether you’re heading off to college in the fall, going to grad school, taking up a trade, switching fields, or finishing high school a little later than average, you deserve major credit. Making a big change is hard, as is doing all the irritating tasks associated with even applying to an institution. School itself is hard.
If you need or expect gifts, make a registry for your basic needs, dorm essentials, and school supplies. Help your friends and family members better support you through something big.
Make a gift registry if you get a divorce
With the end of your marriage and a future of opportunities ahead of you, you may feel some relief—and uncertainty. Lee notes that in some ways, divorce registries make even more sense than wedding registries. Most couples accumulate a lot of joint household stuff, and after the separation, you need your own things.
A divorce registry is forward-thinking. Many divorce registries are made by the person going through the divorce themself, but even more registries are made by friends trying to support the newly single.
Make a gift registry for your birthday
No one wants to receive five diaper genies and no diaper bags. Especially when it comes to babies’ birthdays, it’s important not to double or triple up on gifts that someone already has, and also important to buy presents that match a parent’s particular needs.
When you create a birthday registry, you’re not being picky or selfish; you’re helping your loved ones make easier choices and saving them (and retailers) from dealing with returns.
Make a gift registry for your pet
When asked what kinds of funny or unexpected registries she’s seen in her time at MyRegistry, Lee initially shared that beauty pageant contestants often use them to source the materials they need for their self-funded competitions. Then, she remembered the pig.
“Somebody made a registry for their pet pig! It was a pet pig adoption,” she said.
If you’re adopting a new animal, make a registry. Your friends and family might want to support. It takes a village to raise a kid, but it also takes a village to raise a pig.
Make an ongoing gift registry
Set up an ongoing registry. No, really. Keep an online wishlist for when someone may want to surprise you. Registries, Lee said, aren’t just for specific events, “but also because sometimes, out of the blue, somebody is coming over to your house or you’re having a dinner, and it’s better that they know what you like and what you want.” She called it a “life registry,” and you should go for it.