Christine Park

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Letters to Santa are Going Digital

Today my 6-year-old daughter excitedly asked if she could start on her Christmas wish list for Santa. From the sounds of it, she's got some pretty specific things in mind. She just asked me how to spell "heels." Hmmmm. I may have to screen some of these to make sure they're age appropriate! LOL But I love that she's partaking in this cherished childhood tradition. I think letter-writing is a lost art, so I encourage her to put pen to paper whenever possible. I just took a peek, and the list is adorable, slanting to the right, with surprisingly no misspellings, and includes Rapunzel high heels, new earrings, and a karaoke machine. She is her mother's daughter.
She also plans on decorating it with pictures and stickers, which we will then send on to Santa. What an awesome addition to her scrapbook. Something fun for her to look back on when she's a full-fledged diva instead of a diva-in-training. So you can imagine my reluctance at the thought of forgoing the traditional letter to Santa for a digital wishlist. I ran across this article in which the author's kids compile their lists strictly online, whether on Amazon or Toys R Us, just to name a few. But as an adult with my own Amazon wishlist, I can clearly see the benefits. Generous but directionless friends and relatives no longer have to guess. This cuts down on my time spent returning stuff. And the recipient gets exactly what he/she wants. It's a win-win.

Obviously individual stores each have their own gift registry. But you'll often find one store doesn't usually carry everything you want. The online retailer that comes closest is Amazon. For the items you want, you select "Add to Wish List" instead of add to cart. Once you open your wish list on Amazon, you can add a priority to the item (highest, high, medium, etc.). Gift-givers can search for a wish list based on name or e-mail address. Amazon's selection of  toys and electronics is great. Their clothes and jewelry not so much. 

That's where Wishpot comes in -- a free online wishlist that lets you compile a list from anywhere, not just one store. I haven't used it yet but here's the review from USA Today: 
Clicking on the Wishpot icon brings up a window pre-filled with the product's name, price, image and link. You can edit these and then select the wish list you want to add the item to, the recipient's name, number needed, tags, notes and a priority level. For some items and retailers, you can also choose to be alerted if the price drops or deals on the item come up from other retailers.
For those buying from your wish list, they can sort by price, date added and whether an item is available. And if they buy an item, they can indicate that they've purchased it so you don't end up with duplicates.

Tallwish is another free online wishlist that lets you share lists. USA Today says a fun feature is the collaboration:
You can add items secretly to other people's wish lists so family members can collaborate on ideas. The name of the person suggesting the item appears next to it. And when an item is purchased others in the group can see, but the wish list owner isn't notified, so gifts can remain a surprise. It's a little bare bones, though, when it comes to adding items; there is no tool-bar add-on and you can only manually enter the item name, link and priority level. 
Wishlistr and Wantsthis are also similar services.

If the kiddos are young enough to try to keep the magic of Santa alive, Macy's has a cute letter-writing feature on its website. Toys R Us also has help to write a Letter to Santa. And by far, the best personalized Santa video is at PNP, short for Portable North Pole. Last year, the kids watched, mouths open, as Santa called them by name, talked about where they lived, and all sorts of other customizable details. 
Regardless, I know it's still early, but I'm starting to get excited for the most wonderful time of year. Christmas was already my favorite holiday, but having kids just took it to another level of fun. Do you have any special traditions involving your Santa letters?

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