There are ways to get the gifts you want, be it for a bridal shower or baby shower, and let the givers be frugal and green.
Hardware stores and specialty stores are two options for unusual gift registries. Another is the Alternative Gift Registry from the consumer group Center for a New American Dream.
• Recipe cards: Engaged couples request recipes for easy-to-prepare meals that can be cooked in a crock pot or in simple steps.
• Green appliances: Couples can direct wedding guests to the federal Energy Star website, (http://www.energystar.gov/) for a list of energy-efficient appliances, their names and model numbers. Use search engines to locate places where they're sold.
For baby gifts, consider:
• Used clothes: New Dream's registry lets parents request gently used clothing for infants and toddlers.
• Baby-sitting services: Use the registry to line up friends and relatives to help out for date nights and other outings. Specify an amount of hours and the registry will let browsers know when the time quota has been filled.
• Meals: With a new baby, who has time to cook? The registry provides space for home cooks to sign up to provide new parents one or more free meals.