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An Open Letter to Santa: My 2014 Travel Wish List

An Open Letter to Santa: My 2014 Travel Wish List

Dear Santa,

Around this time of the year, I see tons of _______ of the month clubs advertised. There’s absolutely a club for everyone’s taste: Bacon, cigar, dog treats, ice cream, PB&J, wine, salsa, teddy bear, flower, olive oil, and even a breakfast club, which makes this 80s child laugh. Seriously, I’ve seen just about everything a person could imagine.

The one thing I haven’t found is a club for travel—a trip of the month club. It certainly would be my dream gift. How exciting would it be to know each month you’d have a trip already planned? One size does not fit all, so obviously this would need to be a customizable gift. So to make it easier on you, Santa {or anyone else}, this is my wish list for the currently non-existent 2014 trip of the month club.

January

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I kicked off my epic 2013 travel year with a quick New York City break, so I think it’s only appropriate to start off 2014 with a trip to another favorite city of mine—Paris. It’s a place that I visited twice, and I just can’t get enough. I tend to think that Santa brought me an early Christmas present when a round trip flight from Houston to Paris for $281 TOTAL was brought to my attention. I snapped it up quicker than reindeer off of a roof.

February

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As a kid, I visited Colorado twice per year: once for skiing and once for summer. It’s a sentimental place, and one that I’ve neglected since graduating from high school. In 2012, I made it to Keystone and 2013 took me to Telluride. Thus, I must continue the streak for 2014. Methinks that February is the perfect time for Colorado skiing—the Christmas/New Year crowds are gone and spring break hasn’t yet begun. So, with so many wonderful ski resorts in Colorado, where do I want to go? Aspen and Snowmass will do just fine.

March

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Maybe I have a bit of ski {or après-ski} fever, and there’s no place that will make me feel better than the Alps. In January, I got my first taste of European skiing in Verbier, Switzerland. Oh my! The Swiss Alps rank in the top three most beautiful places I’ve seen. But I’m not picky; any of the Alps will do—France, Germany, Austria, Italy, or back to Switzerland. And while I’m in that neck of the woods, I’d love to explore more of Austria. I suppose watching NBC’s terrible live version of The Sound of Music last week got me dreaming of Innsbruck, Salzburg, and Vienna.

April

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My travel life has totally been lacking in Caribbean time. I think April is a great opportunity to rectify that situation. Hurricane season has long passed, and after so many cold weather destinations, some sun-provided vitamin D is in order. The British Virgin Islands have been calling my name lately. With the pristine beaches, gorgeous water, and proximity to home–sign me up. Plus, there’s the BVI Spring Regatta happening at the beginning of the month. I’ve never fashioned myself as a sailor, but I love dressing the part.

May

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Three things that you probably don’t know about me: I like hats; I like tradition; and I like mint juleps. There’s nothing that combines these three things quite like the Kentucky Derby. Oh yes, I’m dying to visit Churchill Downs donning my biggest straw hat, and sip mint juleps from a silver cup while singing “My Old Kentucky Home” at the top of my lungs. I’m ready–I even know how to pronounce Louisville like the locals.

June

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I’m not really a soccer {or football} lover, but I am a sports fan. After watching the brouhaha of the World Cup in South Africa four years ago, I decided that I wanted to experience this storied event for myself. It doesn’t hurt that the World Cup is being held in Brazil either. Hello! I’d love to be drinking caipirinhas and sporting the stars and stripes in Recife when the US of A plays Germany on June 26. USA! USA! USA!

July

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You’d think I’d learn my lesson about traveling to Europe during the summer, but alas, I’m just too thickheaded to learn. Perhaps if I stay out of the cities and visit the country then I’ll be better off. I’ve always wanted to explore more of France, only having been to Paris and Burgundy. I think the French Alps are calling my name. Higher elevation means lower temperatures and France means French wine and cheese. Plus, I’ll get to see what’s under all that snow and ice.

August

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This is a VERY special month for me. On August 16, I turn 40. You know what also happens on August 16? The Palio in Siena, Italy is run. This historical horse race is decidedly older than me {having been run since 1656}, but it doesn’t miss a step. Thousands of people pour into Piazza del Campo to cheer on their favorite contrada. No doubt there are large quantities of Italian wine and food devoured during the celebrations. The Palio would be one big Italian-themed birthday party. The only thing that would make my 40th birthday better would be a villa in the Tuscan hills to share with a few of my dearest friends. Splendido!

September

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I think South America and I are going to be good friends in 2014. On the heels of the World Cup in Brazil, I think I’ll have hankering for more. I like the sound of Chile in September. Things are warming up south of the equator, and the country makes some brilliant red wines. There’s like a million wineries located in the valleys around Santiago, and everyone knows that wine is always tastier at its source. Too bad harvest season is February through May, because there are some awesome-sounding festivals occurring. Why not just go during that time, you ask? Well, I want to visit Patagonia, and it’s just too damn cold during that time of the year. Plus, I might be able to catch the impossible-to-predict, desierto florido {flowering desert}. Perhaps two trips to Chile are in order.

October

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With so much worldly travel, I think I’d like to spend a little time in the great state of Texas. The heat has subsided, and it’s the thick of college football season. This is also when the State Fair of Texas occurs in Dallas. From Big Tex to the giant Ferris wheel to the Red River Rivalry to the assortment of fried food options, this is the only time that you’ll hear of me clamoring to visit Dallas. It’s a Houston thing, y’all.

November

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South Africa, and really the better part of Africa, has been my coveted destination for years. I’ve yet to step foot on the continent, but have been obsessing about it more than usual lately. I need to see the Big 5. I need to drive the Garden Route. I need to drink South African wine. I need to cross this off my to-do list in 2014.

December

Credit

The twelfth month of the year is my favorite. I love the merriment and, quite frankly, the cold weather. Frosty hands, ice cube toes, tall boots, a red nose, and wool coats are some of my favorite things, because with them come Starbucks red cups, the Nutcracker, family, turkey and dressing, and Christmas lights. I can’t imagine an area that encapsulates this time of the year like Budapest, Prague, and Vienna. Known for their Christmas markets {and mulled wine}, I’m dying to visit all three during December. I had the pleasure of seeing them in July of this year, but I can only imagine how magical they are around Christmas. Yes, I’m dreaming of a Hapsburg Capital Christmas.

So, Santa, if anyone can whip up a trip of the month club at this late date, it’s you. Thank you for all the great gifts you’ve given me in the past, even when I should have made the naughty list. And if you want to meet me in Paris or Aspen, that would be totally cool. I imagine you could use a vacation after the busy holiday season.

Love,

Featured Photo

The post An Open Letter to Santa: My 2014 Travel Wish List appeared first on Leah Travels.


Forgot to write to Santa? Use an app

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Hopefully Santa’s elves are good with computers because kids’ holiday wish lists have gone digital.

This holiday season, several retailers have created versions of wish lists online for kids and parents to use.

Wal-Mart WMT, -0.23% first had wish lists available on its website last year, and this holiday season it made the feature available on the store’s app. Target’s TGT, -1.05% Kids’ Wish List app debuted in 2014, and this year has new features including the ability to write a letter to Santa — and receive a response — within the app. Toys “R” Us has had a “wish list” available online since October of 2008.

Although the retailers’ digital wish lists are limited to items that can be purchased at their stores, a crop of independent websites and apps that allow children and adults to create gift registries from multiple retailers have also popped up, including CheckedTwice and Giftster. Within these apps, users can build their lists and include links to where the items are available. The services also include features for family members, who can view others’ holiday gift lists and mark presents as “purchased” to avoid buying the same gift on one’s list multiple times.

A “wish list” feature was a natural extension for retailers, who in recent years have invested heavily in the mobile shopping experience, said Stephanie Wissink, a senior research analyst for Piper Jaffray, an investment bank and asset management firm.

With good reason. Shoppers spent nearly $3 billion online on Cyber Monday alone this year, with close to half of those purchases being made on mobile devices.

Pinterest, an online pinboard where people share recipes, crafts, articles and design ideas, in recent months added a “buy” button to its pins.

Particularly for younger parents, Wissink said, the time-saving aspect of being able to browse and shop online is important. “There’s a whole movement toward convenience,” she said. “You’re going to see more and more of this digital and mobile engagement with parents.”

CheckedTwice has almost 100,000 users, said Andrew Swick, who released the service with his sister and co-founder Rebecca Hyatt in 2012.

Giftster, which was first available in 2008, has a user base in the “hundreds of thousands,” said Ron Reimann, Giftster’s founder.

CheckedTwice started when Hyatt, who is a developer, emailed a wish list to her family in 2002. Three family members decided to buy her the same gift, a Robert Frost poetry anthology. She started an informal online system for her own family the next year, where they could see which gifts others had purchased for their family members. She and Swick then honed the service’s features until it was made available to the public in 2012.

Despite the utility and time-saving aspects, Swick said there is sometimes negative feedback from the public when it comes to children creating a gift registry.

“A single person wish list can feel a little selfish, or a little greedy to some people,” he said, noting that registries are still typically associated with weddings instead of holiday shopping.

Reimann, the founder of Giftster, said he has heard similar feedback, such as, “Oh my gosh, kids are making lists of things they want, how selfish is that!”

And Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age,” says she thinks it’s better to give the wrong gift and have somebody experience that it was nonetheless heartfelt, than to have the experience of just making a list and feeling entitled to have it fulfilled.

“It really does take time to think about a person who is in your life and what might make them happy,” said Steiner-Adair.

Still, kids have been making lists since long before an online version was available, whether it was circling items they wanted in a store catalog or writing a handwritten letter to Santa.

And some people who use the apps like the organizational aspects, and that they create “a sense of celebrating the good things in their life,” said Reimann.

Kids today are used to communicating online, so this type of digital wish list is just the equivalent of sharing that information in the school yard, said Carley Knobloch, a digital lifestyle expert and mother of two.

“They always ask for a pony and whatever the crazy expensive Barbie sports car is, or whatever else is unattainable to a lot of people,” she said. “Kids understand that (a list) doesn’t mean Santa is bringing every last thing, or that parents should be pressured to feel they should buy every last thing.”

Plus, because it has become more common for family members to live far away from one another, lists can help relatives find a better-matched gift for a child and avoid waste, or the time required to make returns, Wissink of Piper Jaffray said.

“A recipient’s enthusiasm is what validates the purchase, not the time or money you spent,” she said. “When you hear, ‘This is what I wanted!’, you know you nailed it. There’s nothing better for a grandma, grandpa or a mom or a dad.”

“For me as a parent, I think it’s really helpful,” Knobloch said. “I don’t want to end up with a bunch of plastic toys in my house that my kids didn’t want.”

There are a few things parents can do to manage kids’ expectations.

Knobloch tells her own children to include items on their lists at different price points so that family members don’t feel pressure to buy an expensive gift, and she can avoid the awkwardness of communicating with family members about how much they want to spend.

Steiner-Adair also said children should explain why they want each gift on their list, rather than add items without thinking of their meaning.

And making a list can also be an opportunity to talk about the importance of writing a “thank you” note, and using the holidays as a time for making donations or otherwise giving to those in need.

Reimann said he views Giftster not as a source of greed, but as a way to help family members to be specific in their purchases and stick to budgets.

“If people knew what other people really needed or wanted, they would not have to run out at the last minute and overspend or get the wrong thing,” he said.


Forgot to write to Santa? Use an app

Will paper letters to Santa disappear?

  • Email icon
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Linkedin icon
  • Flipboard icon
  • Print icon
  • Resize icon

Referenced Symbols

Hopefully Santa’s elves are good with computers because kids’ holiday wish lists have gone digital.

This holiday season, several retailers have created versions of wish lists online for kids and parents to use.

Wal-Mart WMT, -0.23% first had wish lists available on its website last year, and this holiday season it made the feature available on the store’s app. Target’s TGT, -1.05% Kids’ Wish List app debuted in 2014, and this year has new features including the ability to write a letter to Santa — and receive a response — within the app. Toys “R” Us has had a “wish list” available online since October of 2008.

Although the retailers’ digital wish lists are limited to items that can be purchased at their stores, a crop of independent websites and apps that allow children and adults to create gift registries from multiple retailers have also popped up, including CheckedTwice and Giftster. Within these apps, users can build their lists and include links to where the items are available. The services also include features for family members, who can view others’ holiday gift lists and mark presents as “purchased” to avoid buying the same gift on one’s list multiple times.

A “wish list” feature was a natural extension for retailers, who in recent years have invested heavily in the mobile shopping experience, said Stephanie Wissink, a senior research analyst for Piper Jaffray, an investment bank and asset management firm.

With good reason. Shoppers spent nearly $3 billion online on Cyber Monday alone this year, with close to half of those purchases being made on mobile devices.

Pinterest, an online pinboard where people share recipes, crafts, articles and design ideas, in recent months added a “buy” button to its pins.

Particularly for younger parents, Wissink said, the time-saving aspect of being able to browse and shop online is important. “There’s a whole movement toward convenience,” she said. “You’re going to see more and more of this digital and mobile engagement with parents.”

CheckedTwice has almost 100,000 users, said Andrew Swick, who released the service with his sister and co-founder Rebecca Hyatt in 2012.

Giftster, which was first available in 2008, has a user base in the “hundreds of thousands,” said Ron Reimann, Giftster’s founder.

CheckedTwice started when Hyatt, who is a developer, emailed a wish list to her family in 2002. Three family members decided to buy her the same gift, a Robert Frost poetry anthology. She started an informal online system for her own family the next year, where they could see which gifts others had purchased for their family members. She and Swick then honed the service’s features until it was made available to the public in 2012.

Despite the utility and time-saving aspects, Swick said there is sometimes negative feedback from the public when it comes to children creating a gift registry.

“A single person wish list can feel a little selfish, or a little greedy to some people,” he said, noting that registries are still typically associated with weddings instead of holiday shopping.

Reimann, the founder of Giftster, said he has heard similar feedback, such as, “Oh my gosh, kids are making lists of things they want, how selfish is that!”

And Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age,” says she thinks it’s better to give the wrong gift and have somebody experience that it was nonetheless heartfelt, than to have the experience of just making a list and feeling entitled to have it fulfilled.

“It really does take time to think about a person who is in your life and what might make them happy,” said Steiner-Adair.

Still, kids have been making lists since long before an online version was available, whether it was circling items they wanted in a store catalog or writing a handwritten letter to Santa.

And some people who use the apps like the organizational aspects, and that they create “a sense of celebrating the good things in their life,” said Reimann.

Kids today are used to communicating online, so this type of digital wish list is just the equivalent of sharing that information in the school yard, said Carley Knobloch, a digital lifestyle expert and mother of two.

“They always ask for a pony and whatever the crazy expensive Barbie sports car is, or whatever else is unattainable to a lot of people,” she said. “Kids understand that (a list) doesn’t mean Santa is bringing every last thing, or that parents should be pressured to feel they should buy every last thing.”

Plus, because it has become more common for family members to live far away from one another, lists can help relatives find a better-matched gift for a child and avoid waste, or the time required to make returns, Wissink of Piper Jaffray said.

“A recipient’s enthusiasm is what validates the purchase, not the time or money you spent,” she said. “When you hear, ‘This is what I wanted!’, you know you nailed it. There’s nothing better for a grandma, grandpa or a mom or a dad.”

“For me as a parent, I think it’s really helpful,” Knobloch said. “I don’t want to end up with a bunch of plastic toys in my house that my kids didn’t want.”

There are a few things parents can do to manage kids’ expectations.

Knobloch tells her own children to include items on their lists at different price points so that family members don’t feel pressure to buy an expensive gift, and she can avoid the awkwardness of communicating with family members about how much they want to spend.

Steiner-Adair also said children should explain why they want each gift on their list, rather than add items without thinking of their meaning.

And making a list can also be an opportunity to talk about the importance of writing a “thank you” note, and using the holidays as a time for making donations or otherwise giving to those in need.

Reimann said he views Giftster not as a source of greed, but as a way to help family members to be specific in their purchases and stick to budgets.

“If people knew what other people really needed or wanted, they would not have to run out at the last minute and overspend or get the wrong thing,” he said.


Forgot to write to Santa? Use an app

Will paper letters to Santa disappear?

  • Email icon
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Linkedin icon
  • Flipboard icon
  • Print icon
  • Resize icon

Referenced Symbols

Hopefully Santa’s elves are good with computers because kids’ holiday wish lists have gone digital.

This holiday season, several retailers have created versions of wish lists online for kids and parents to use.

Wal-Mart WMT, -0.23% first had wish lists available on its website last year, and this holiday season it made the feature available on the store’s app. Target’s TGT, -1.05% Kids’ Wish List app debuted in 2014, and this year has new features including the ability to write a letter to Santa — and receive a response — within the app. Toys “R” Us has had a “wish list” available online since October of 2008.

Although the retailers’ digital wish lists are limited to items that can be purchased at their stores, a crop of independent websites and apps that allow children and adults to create gift registries from multiple retailers have also popped up, including CheckedTwice and Giftster. Within these apps, users can build their lists and include links to where the items are available. The services also include features for family members, who can view others’ holiday gift lists and mark presents as “purchased” to avoid buying the same gift on one’s list multiple times.

A “wish list” feature was a natural extension for retailers, who in recent years have invested heavily in the mobile shopping experience, said Stephanie Wissink, a senior research analyst for Piper Jaffray, an investment bank and asset management firm.

With good reason. Shoppers spent nearly $3 billion online on Cyber Monday alone this year, with close to half of those purchases being made on mobile devices.

Pinterest, an online pinboard where people share recipes, crafts, articles and design ideas, in recent months added a “buy” button to its pins.

Particularly for younger parents, Wissink said, the time-saving aspect of being able to browse and shop online is important. “There’s a whole movement toward convenience,” she said. “You’re going to see more and more of this digital and mobile engagement with parents.”

CheckedTwice has almost 100,000 users, said Andrew Swick, who released the service with his sister and co-founder Rebecca Hyatt in 2012.

Giftster, which was first available in 2008, has a user base in the “hundreds of thousands,” said Ron Reimann, Giftster’s founder.

CheckedTwice started when Hyatt, who is a developer, emailed a wish list to her family in 2002. Three family members decided to buy her the same gift, a Robert Frost poetry anthology. She started an informal online system for her own family the next year, where they could see which gifts others had purchased for their family members. She and Swick then honed the service’s features until it was made available to the public in 2012.

Despite the utility and time-saving aspects, Swick said there is sometimes negative feedback from the public when it comes to children creating a gift registry.

“A single person wish list can feel a little selfish, or a little greedy to some people,” he said, noting that registries are still typically associated with weddings instead of holiday shopping.

Reimann, the founder of Giftster, said he has heard similar feedback, such as, “Oh my gosh, kids are making lists of things they want, how selfish is that!”

And Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age,” says she thinks it’s better to give the wrong gift and have somebody experience that it was nonetheless heartfelt, than to have the experience of just making a list and feeling entitled to have it fulfilled.

“It really does take time to think about a person who is in your life and what might make them happy,” said Steiner-Adair.

Still, kids have been making lists since long before an online version was available, whether it was circling items they wanted in a store catalog or writing a handwritten letter to Santa.

And some people who use the apps like the organizational aspects, and that they create “a sense of celebrating the good things in their life,” said Reimann.

Kids today are used to communicating online, so this type of digital wish list is just the equivalent of sharing that information in the school yard, said Carley Knobloch, a digital lifestyle expert and mother of two.

“They always ask for a pony and whatever the crazy expensive Barbie sports car is, or whatever else is unattainable to a lot of people,” she said. “Kids understand that (a list) doesn’t mean Santa is bringing every last thing, or that parents should be pressured to feel they should buy every last thing.”

Plus, because it has become more common for family members to live far away from one another, lists can help relatives find a better-matched gift for a child and avoid waste, or the time required to make returns, Wissink of Piper Jaffray said.

“A recipient’s enthusiasm is what validates the purchase, not the time or money you spent,” she said. “When you hear, ‘This is what I wanted!’, you know you nailed it. There’s nothing better for a grandma, grandpa or a mom or a dad.”

“For me as a parent, I think it’s really helpful,” Knobloch said. “I don’t want to end up with a bunch of plastic toys in my house that my kids didn’t want.”

There are a few things parents can do to manage kids’ expectations.

Knobloch tells her own children to include items on their lists at different price points so that family members don’t feel pressure to buy an expensive gift, and she can avoid the awkwardness of communicating with family members about how much they want to spend.

Steiner-Adair also said children should explain why they want each gift on their list, rather than add items without thinking of their meaning.

And making a list can also be an opportunity to talk about the importance of writing a “thank you” note, and using the holidays as a time for making donations or otherwise giving to those in need.

Reimann said he views Giftster not as a source of greed, but as a way to help family members to be specific in their purchases and stick to budgets.

“If people knew what other people really needed or wanted, they would not have to run out at the last minute and overspend or get the wrong thing,” he said.


Forgot to write to Santa? Use an app

Will paper letters to Santa disappear?

  • Email icon
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Linkedin icon
  • Flipboard icon
  • Print icon
  • Resize icon

Referenced Symbols

Hopefully Santa’s elves are good with computers because kids’ holiday wish lists have gone digital.

This holiday season, several retailers have created versions of wish lists online for kids and parents to use.

Wal-Mart WMT, -0.23% first had wish lists available on its website last year, and this holiday season it made the feature available on the store’s app. Target’s TGT, -1.05% Kids’ Wish List app debuted in 2014, and this year has new features including the ability to write a letter to Santa — and receive a response — within the app. Toys “R” Us has had a “wish list” available online since October of 2008.

Although the retailers’ digital wish lists are limited to items that can be purchased at their stores, a crop of independent websites and apps that allow children and adults to create gift registries from multiple retailers have also popped up, including CheckedTwice and Giftster. Within these apps, users can build their lists and include links to where the items are available. The services also include features for family members, who can view others’ holiday gift lists and mark presents as “purchased” to avoid buying the same gift on one’s list multiple times.

A “wish list” feature was a natural extension for retailers, who in recent years have invested heavily in the mobile shopping experience, said Stephanie Wissink, a senior research analyst for Piper Jaffray, an investment bank and asset management firm.

With good reason. Shoppers spent nearly $3 billion online on Cyber Monday alone this year, with close to half of those purchases being made on mobile devices.

Pinterest, an online pinboard where people share recipes, crafts, articles and design ideas, in recent months added a “buy” button to its pins.

Particularly for younger parents, Wissink said, the time-saving aspect of being able to browse and shop online is important. “There’s a whole movement toward convenience,” she said. “You’re going to see more and more of this digital and mobile engagement with parents.”

CheckedTwice has almost 100,000 users, said Andrew Swick, who released the service with his sister and co-founder Rebecca Hyatt in 2012.

Giftster, which was first available in 2008, has a user base in the “hundreds of thousands,” said Ron Reimann, Giftster’s founder.

CheckedTwice started when Hyatt, who is a developer, emailed a wish list to her family in 2002. Three family members decided to buy her the same gift, a Robert Frost poetry anthology. She started an informal online system for her own family the next year, where they could see which gifts others had purchased for their family members. She and Swick then honed the service’s features until it was made available to the public in 2012.

Despite the utility and time-saving aspects, Swick said there is sometimes negative feedback from the public when it comes to children creating a gift registry.

“A single person wish list can feel a little selfish, or a little greedy to some people,” he said, noting that registries are still typically associated with weddings instead of holiday shopping.

Reimann, the founder of Giftster, said he has heard similar feedback, such as, “Oh my gosh, kids are making lists of things they want, how selfish is that!”

And Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age,” says she thinks it’s better to give the wrong gift and have somebody experience that it was nonetheless heartfelt, than to have the experience of just making a list and feeling entitled to have it fulfilled.

“It really does take time to think about a person who is in your life and what might make them happy,” said Steiner-Adair.

Still, kids have been making lists since long before an online version was available, whether it was circling items they wanted in a store catalog or writing a handwritten letter to Santa.

And some people who use the apps like the organizational aspects, and that they create “a sense of celebrating the good things in their life,” said Reimann.

Kids today are used to communicating online, so this type of digital wish list is just the equivalent of sharing that information in the school yard, said Carley Knobloch, a digital lifestyle expert and mother of two.

“They always ask for a pony and whatever the crazy expensive Barbie sports car is, or whatever else is unattainable to a lot of people,” she said. “Kids understand that (a list) doesn’t mean Santa is bringing every last thing, or that parents should be pressured to feel they should buy every last thing.”

Plus, because it has become more common for family members to live far away from one another, lists can help relatives find a better-matched gift for a child and avoid waste, or the time required to make returns, Wissink of Piper Jaffray said.

“A recipient’s enthusiasm is what validates the purchase, not the time or money you spent,” she said. “When you hear, ‘This is what I wanted!’, you know you nailed it. There’s nothing better for a grandma, grandpa or a mom or a dad.”

“For me as a parent, I think it’s really helpful,” Knobloch said. “I don’t want to end up with a bunch of plastic toys in my house that my kids didn’t want.”

There are a few things parents can do to manage kids’ expectations.

Knobloch tells her own children to include items on their lists at different price points so that family members don’t feel pressure to buy an expensive gift, and she can avoid the awkwardness of communicating with family members about how much they want to spend.

Steiner-Adair also said children should explain why they want each gift on their list, rather than add items without thinking of their meaning.

And making a list can also be an opportunity to talk about the importance of writing a “thank you” note, and using the holidays as a time for making donations or otherwise giving to those in need.

Reimann said he views Giftster not as a source of greed, but as a way to help family members to be specific in their purchases and stick to budgets.

“If people knew what other people really needed or wanted, they would not have to run out at the last minute and overspend or get the wrong thing,” he said.


Forgot to write to Santa? Use an app

Will paper letters to Santa disappear?

  • Email icon
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Linkedin icon
  • Flipboard icon
  • Print icon
  • Resize icon

Referenced Symbols

Hopefully Santa’s elves are good with computers because kids’ holiday wish lists have gone digital.

This holiday season, several retailers have created versions of wish lists online for kids and parents to use.

Wal-Mart WMT, -0.23% first had wish lists available on its website last year, and this holiday season it made the feature available on the store’s app. Target’s TGT, -1.05% Kids’ Wish List app debuted in 2014, and this year has new features including the ability to write a letter to Santa — and receive a response — within the app. Toys “R” Us has had a “wish list” available online since October of 2008.

Although the retailers’ digital wish lists are limited to items that can be purchased at their stores, a crop of independent websites and apps that allow children and adults to create gift registries from multiple retailers have also popped up, including CheckedTwice and Giftster. Within these apps, users can build their lists and include links to where the items are available. The services also include features for family members, who can view others’ holiday gift lists and mark presents as “purchased” to avoid buying the same gift on one’s list multiple times.

A “wish list” feature was a natural extension for retailers, who in recent years have invested heavily in the mobile shopping experience, said Stephanie Wissink, a senior research analyst for Piper Jaffray, an investment bank and asset management firm.

With good reason. Shoppers spent nearly $3 billion online on Cyber Monday alone this year, with close to half of those purchases being made on mobile devices.

Pinterest, an online pinboard where people share recipes, crafts, articles and design ideas, in recent months added a “buy” button to its pins.

Particularly for younger parents, Wissink said, the time-saving aspect of being able to browse and shop online is important. “There’s a whole movement toward convenience,” she said. “You’re going to see more and more of this digital and mobile engagement with parents.”

CheckedTwice has almost 100,000 users, said Andrew Swick, who released the service with his sister and co-founder Rebecca Hyatt in 2012.

Giftster, which was first available in 2008, has a user base in the “hundreds of thousands,” said Ron Reimann, Giftster’s founder.

CheckedTwice started when Hyatt, who is a developer, emailed a wish list to her family in 2002. Three family members decided to buy her the same gift, a Robert Frost poetry anthology. She started an informal online system for her own family the next year, where they could see which gifts others had purchased for their family members. She and Swick then honed the service’s features until it was made available to the public in 2012.

Despite the utility and time-saving aspects, Swick said there is sometimes negative feedback from the public when it comes to children creating a gift registry.

“A single person wish list can feel a little selfish, or a little greedy to some people,” he said, noting that registries are still typically associated with weddings instead of holiday shopping.

Reimann, the founder of Giftster, said he has heard similar feedback, such as, “Oh my gosh, kids are making lists of things they want, how selfish is that!”

And Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age,” says she thinks it’s better to give the wrong gift and have somebody experience that it was nonetheless heartfelt, than to have the experience of just making a list and feeling entitled to have it fulfilled.

“It really does take time to think about a person who is in your life and what might make them happy,” said Steiner-Adair.

Still, kids have been making lists since long before an online version was available, whether it was circling items they wanted in a store catalog or writing a handwritten letter to Santa.

And some people who use the apps like the organizational aspects, and that they create “a sense of celebrating the good things in their life,” said Reimann.

Kids today are used to communicating online, so this type of digital wish list is just the equivalent of sharing that information in the school yard, said Carley Knobloch, a digital lifestyle expert and mother of two.

“They always ask for a pony and whatever the crazy expensive Barbie sports car is, or whatever else is unattainable to a lot of people,” she said. “Kids understand that (a list) doesn’t mean Santa is bringing every last thing, or that parents should be pressured to feel they should buy every last thing.”

Plus, because it has become more common for family members to live far away from one another, lists can help relatives find a better-matched gift for a child and avoid waste, or the time required to make returns, Wissink of Piper Jaffray said.

“A recipient’s enthusiasm is what validates the purchase, not the time or money you spent,” she said. “When you hear, ‘This is what I wanted!’, you know you nailed it. There’s nothing better for a grandma, grandpa or a mom or a dad.”

“For me as a parent, I think it’s really helpful,” Knobloch said. “I don’t want to end up with a bunch of plastic toys in my house that my kids didn’t want.”

There are a few things parents can do to manage kids’ expectations.

Knobloch tells her own children to include items on their lists at different price points so that family members don’t feel pressure to buy an expensive gift, and she can avoid the awkwardness of communicating with family members about how much they want to spend.

Steiner-Adair also said children should explain why they want each gift on their list, rather than add items without thinking of their meaning.

And making a list can also be an opportunity to talk about the importance of writing a “thank you” note, and using the holidays as a time for making donations or otherwise giving to those in need.

Reimann said he views Giftster not as a source of greed, but as a way to help family members to be specific in their purchases and stick to budgets.

“If people knew what other people really needed or wanted, they would not have to run out at the last minute and overspend or get the wrong thing,” he said.


Forgot to write to Santa? Use an app

Will paper letters to Santa disappear?

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Hopefully Santa’s elves are good with computers because kids’ holiday wish lists have gone digital.

This holiday season, several retailers have created versions of wish lists online for kids and parents to use.

Wal-Mart WMT, -0.23% first had wish lists available on its website last year, and this holiday season it made the feature available on the store’s app. Target’s TGT, -1.05% Kids’ Wish List app debuted in 2014, and this year has new features including the ability to write a letter to Santa — and receive a response — within the app. Toys “R” Us has had a “wish list” available online since October of 2008.

Although the retailers’ digital wish lists are limited to items that can be purchased at their stores, a crop of independent websites and apps that allow children and adults to create gift registries from multiple retailers have also popped up, including CheckedTwice and Giftster. Within these apps, users can build their lists and include links to where the items are available. The services also include features for family members, who can view others’ holiday gift lists and mark presents as “purchased” to avoid buying the same gift on one’s list multiple times.

A “wish list” feature was a natural extension for retailers, who in recent years have invested heavily in the mobile shopping experience, said Stephanie Wissink, a senior research analyst for Piper Jaffray, an investment bank and asset management firm.

With good reason. Shoppers spent nearly $3 billion online on Cyber Monday alone this year, with close to half of those purchases being made on mobile devices.

Pinterest, an online pinboard where people share recipes, crafts, articles and design ideas, in recent months added a “buy” button to its pins.

Particularly for younger parents, Wissink said, the time-saving aspect of being able to browse and shop online is important. “There’s a whole movement toward convenience,” she said. “You’re going to see more and more of this digital and mobile engagement with parents.”

CheckedTwice has almost 100,000 users, said Andrew Swick, who released the service with his sister and co-founder Rebecca Hyatt in 2012.

Giftster, which was first available in 2008, has a user base in the “hundreds of thousands,” said Ron Reimann, Giftster’s founder.

CheckedTwice started when Hyatt, who is a developer, emailed a wish list to her family in 2002. Three family members decided to buy her the same gift, a Robert Frost poetry anthology. She started an informal online system for her own family the next year, where they could see which gifts others had purchased for their family members. She and Swick then honed the service’s features until it was made available to the public in 2012.

Despite the utility and time-saving aspects, Swick said there is sometimes negative feedback from the public when it comes to children creating a gift registry.

“A single person wish list can feel a little selfish, or a little greedy to some people,” he said, noting that registries are still typically associated with weddings instead of holiday shopping.

Reimann, the founder of Giftster, said he has heard similar feedback, such as, “Oh my gosh, kids are making lists of things they want, how selfish is that!”

And Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age,” says she thinks it’s better to give the wrong gift and have somebody experience that it was nonetheless heartfelt, than to have the experience of just making a list and feeling entitled to have it fulfilled.

“It really does take time to think about a person who is in your life and what might make them happy,” said Steiner-Adair.

Still, kids have been making lists since long before an online version was available, whether it was circling items they wanted in a store catalog or writing a handwritten letter to Santa.

And some people who use the apps like the organizational aspects, and that they create “a sense of celebrating the good things in their life,” said Reimann.

Kids today are used to communicating online, so this type of digital wish list is just the equivalent of sharing that information in the school yard, said Carley Knobloch, a digital lifestyle expert and mother of two.

“They always ask for a pony and whatever the crazy expensive Barbie sports car is, or whatever else is unattainable to a lot of people,” she said. “Kids understand that (a list) doesn’t mean Santa is bringing every last thing, or that parents should be pressured to feel they should buy every last thing.”

Plus, because it has become more common for family members to live far away from one another, lists can help relatives find a better-matched gift for a child and avoid waste, or the time required to make returns, Wissink of Piper Jaffray said.

“A recipient’s enthusiasm is what validates the purchase, not the time or money you spent,” she said. “When you hear, ‘This is what I wanted!’, you know you nailed it. There’s nothing better for a grandma, grandpa or a mom or a dad.”

“For me as a parent, I think it’s really helpful,” Knobloch said. “I don’t want to end up with a bunch of plastic toys in my house that my kids didn’t want.”

There are a few things parents can do to manage kids’ expectations.

Knobloch tells her own children to include items on their lists at different price points so that family members don’t feel pressure to buy an expensive gift, and she can avoid the awkwardness of communicating with family members about how much they want to spend.

Steiner-Adair also said children should explain why they want each gift on their list, rather than add items without thinking of their meaning.

And making a list can also be an opportunity to talk about the importance of writing a “thank you” note, and using the holidays as a time for making donations or otherwise giving to those in need.

Reimann said he views Giftster not as a source of greed, but as a way to help family members to be specific in their purchases and stick to budgets.

“If people knew what other people really needed or wanted, they would not have to run out at the last minute and overspend or get the wrong thing,” he said.


Forgot to write to Santa? Use an app

Will paper letters to Santa disappear?

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Referenced Symbols

Hopefully Santa’s elves are good with computers because kids’ holiday wish lists have gone digital.

This holiday season, several retailers have created versions of wish lists online for kids and parents to use.

Wal-Mart WMT, -0.23% first had wish lists available on its website last year, and this holiday season it made the feature available on the store’s app. Target’s TGT, -1.05% Kids’ Wish List app debuted in 2014, and this year has new features including the ability to write a letter to Santa — and receive a response — within the app. Toys “R” Us has had a “wish list” available online since October of 2008.

Although the retailers’ digital wish lists are limited to items that can be purchased at their stores, a crop of independent websites and apps that allow children and adults to create gift registries from multiple retailers have also popped up, including CheckedTwice and Giftster. Within these apps, users can build their lists and include links to where the items are available. The services also include features for family members, who can view others’ holiday gift lists and mark presents as “purchased” to avoid buying the same gift on one’s list multiple times.

A “wish list” feature was a natural extension for retailers, who in recent years have invested heavily in the mobile shopping experience, said Stephanie Wissink, a senior research analyst for Piper Jaffray, an investment bank and asset management firm.

With good reason. Shoppers spent nearly $3 billion online on Cyber Monday alone this year, with close to half of those purchases being made on mobile devices.

Pinterest, an online pinboard where people share recipes, crafts, articles and design ideas, in recent months added a “buy” button to its pins.

Particularly for younger parents, Wissink said, the time-saving aspect of being able to browse and shop online is important. “There’s a whole movement toward convenience,” she said. “You’re going to see more and more of this digital and mobile engagement with parents.”

CheckedTwice has almost 100,000 users, said Andrew Swick, who released the service with his sister and co-founder Rebecca Hyatt in 2012.

Giftster, which was first available in 2008, has a user base in the “hundreds of thousands,” said Ron Reimann, Giftster’s founder.

CheckedTwice started when Hyatt, who is a developer, emailed a wish list to her family in 2002. Three family members decided to buy her the same gift, a Robert Frost poetry anthology. She started an informal online system for her own family the next year, where they could see which gifts others had purchased for their family members. She and Swick then honed the service’s features until it was made available to the public in 2012.

Despite the utility and time-saving aspects, Swick said there is sometimes negative feedback from the public when it comes to children creating a gift registry.

“A single person wish list can feel a little selfish, or a little greedy to some people,” he said, noting that registries are still typically associated with weddings instead of holiday shopping.

Reimann, the founder of Giftster, said he has heard similar feedback, such as, “Oh my gosh, kids are making lists of things they want, how selfish is that!”

And Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age,” says she thinks it’s better to give the wrong gift and have somebody experience that it was nonetheless heartfelt, than to have the experience of just making a list and feeling entitled to have it fulfilled.

“It really does take time to think about a person who is in your life and what might make them happy,” said Steiner-Adair.

Still, kids have been making lists since long before an online version was available, whether it was circling items they wanted in a store catalog or writing a handwritten letter to Santa.

And some people who use the apps like the organizational aspects, and that they create “a sense of celebrating the good things in their life,” said Reimann.

Kids today are used to communicating online, so this type of digital wish list is just the equivalent of sharing that information in the school yard, said Carley Knobloch, a digital lifestyle expert and mother of two.

“They always ask for a pony and whatever the crazy expensive Barbie sports car is, or whatever else is unattainable to a lot of people,” she said. “Kids understand that (a list) doesn’t mean Santa is bringing every last thing, or that parents should be pressured to feel they should buy every last thing.”

Plus, because it has become more common for family members to live far away from one another, lists can help relatives find a better-matched gift for a child and avoid waste, or the time required to make returns, Wissink of Piper Jaffray said.

“A recipient’s enthusiasm is what validates the purchase, not the time or money you spent,” she said. “When you hear, ‘This is what I wanted!’, you know you nailed it. There’s nothing better for a grandma, grandpa or a mom or a dad.”

“For me as a parent, I think it’s really helpful,” Knobloch said. “I don’t want to end up with a bunch of plastic toys in my house that my kids didn’t want.”

There are a few things parents can do to manage kids’ expectations.

Knobloch tells her own children to include items on their lists at different price points so that family members don’t feel pressure to buy an expensive gift, and she can avoid the awkwardness of communicating with family members about how much they want to spend.

Steiner-Adair also said children should explain why they want each gift on their list, rather than add items without thinking of their meaning.

And making a list can also be an opportunity to talk about the importance of writing a “thank you” note, and using the holidays as a time for making donations or otherwise giving to those in need.

Reimann said he views Giftster not as a source of greed, but as a way to help family members to be specific in their purchases and stick to budgets.

“If people knew what other people really needed or wanted, they would not have to run out at the last minute and overspend or get the wrong thing,” he said.


Forgot to write to Santa? Use an app

Will paper letters to Santa disappear?

  • Email icon
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Linkedin icon
  • Flipboard icon
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  • Resize icon

Referenced Symbols

Hopefully Santa’s elves are good with computers because kids’ holiday wish lists have gone digital.

This holiday season, several retailers have created versions of wish lists online for kids and parents to use.

Wal-Mart WMT, -0.23% first had wish lists available on its website last year, and this holiday season it made the feature available on the store’s app. Target’s TGT, -1.05% Kids’ Wish List app debuted in 2014, and this year has new features including the ability to write a letter to Santa — and receive a response — within the app. Toys “R” Us has had a “wish list” available online since October of 2008.

Although the retailers’ digital wish lists are limited to items that can be purchased at their stores, a crop of independent websites and apps that allow children and adults to create gift registries from multiple retailers have also popped up, including CheckedTwice and Giftster. Within these apps, users can build their lists and include links to where the items are available. The services also include features for family members, who can view others’ holiday gift lists and mark presents as “purchased” to avoid buying the same gift on one’s list multiple times.

A “wish list” feature was a natural extension for retailers, who in recent years have invested heavily in the mobile shopping experience, said Stephanie Wissink, a senior research analyst for Piper Jaffray, an investment bank and asset management firm.

With good reason. Shoppers spent nearly $3 billion online on Cyber Monday alone this year, with close to half of those purchases being made on mobile devices.

Pinterest, an online pinboard where people share recipes, crafts, articles and design ideas, in recent months added a “buy” button to its pins.

Particularly for younger parents, Wissink said, the time-saving aspect of being able to browse and shop online is important. “There’s a whole movement toward convenience,” she said. “You’re going to see more and more of this digital and mobile engagement with parents.”

CheckedTwice has almost 100,000 users, said Andrew Swick, who released the service with his sister and co-founder Rebecca Hyatt in 2012.

Giftster, which was first available in 2008, has a user base in the “hundreds of thousands,” said Ron Reimann, Giftster’s founder.

CheckedTwice started when Hyatt, who is a developer, emailed a wish list to her family in 2002. Three family members decided to buy her the same gift, a Robert Frost poetry anthology. She started an informal online system for her own family the next year, where they could see which gifts others had purchased for their family members. She and Swick then honed the service’s features until it was made available to the public in 2012.

Despite the utility and time-saving aspects, Swick said there is sometimes negative feedback from the public when it comes to children creating a gift registry.

“A single person wish list can feel a little selfish, or a little greedy to some people,” he said, noting that registries are still typically associated with weddings instead of holiday shopping.

Reimann, the founder of Giftster, said he has heard similar feedback, such as, “Oh my gosh, kids are making lists of things they want, how selfish is that!”

And Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age,” says she thinks it’s better to give the wrong gift and have somebody experience that it was nonetheless heartfelt, than to have the experience of just making a list and feeling entitled to have it fulfilled.

“It really does take time to think about a person who is in your life and what might make them happy,” said Steiner-Adair.

Still, kids have been making lists since long before an online version was available, whether it was circling items they wanted in a store catalog or writing a handwritten letter to Santa.

And some people who use the apps like the organizational aspects, and that they create “a sense of celebrating the good things in their life,” said Reimann.

Kids today are used to communicating online, so this type of digital wish list is just the equivalent of sharing that information in the school yard, said Carley Knobloch, a digital lifestyle expert and mother of two.

“They always ask for a pony and whatever the crazy expensive Barbie sports car is, or whatever else is unattainable to a lot of people,” she said. “Kids understand that (a list) doesn’t mean Santa is bringing every last thing, or that parents should be pressured to feel they should buy every last thing.”

Plus, because it has become more common for family members to live far away from one another, lists can help relatives find a better-matched gift for a child and avoid waste, or the time required to make returns, Wissink of Piper Jaffray said.

“A recipient’s enthusiasm is what validates the purchase, not the time or money you spent,” she said. “When you hear, ‘This is what I wanted!’, you know you nailed it. There’s nothing better for a grandma, grandpa or a mom or a dad.”

“For me as a parent, I think it’s really helpful,” Knobloch said. “I don’t want to end up with a bunch of plastic toys in my house that my kids didn’t want.”

There are a few things parents can do to manage kids’ expectations.

Knobloch tells her own children to include items on their lists at different price points so that family members don’t feel pressure to buy an expensive gift, and she can avoid the awkwardness of communicating with family members about how much they want to spend.

Steiner-Adair also said children should explain why they want each gift on their list, rather than add items without thinking of their meaning.

And making a list can also be an opportunity to talk about the importance of writing a “thank you” note, and using the holidays as a time for making donations or otherwise giving to those in need.

Reimann said he views Giftster not as a source of greed, but as a way to help family members to be specific in their purchases and stick to budgets.

“If people knew what other people really needed or wanted, they would not have to run out at the last minute and overspend or get the wrong thing,” he said.


Forgot to write to Santa? Use an app

Will paper letters to Santa disappear?

  • Email icon
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Linkedin icon
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  • Resize icon

Referenced Symbols

Hopefully Santa’s elves are good with computers because kids’ holiday wish lists have gone digital.

This holiday season, several retailers have created versions of wish lists online for kids and parents to use.

Wal-Mart WMT, -0.23% first had wish lists available on its website last year, and this holiday season it made the feature available on the store’s app. Target’s TGT, -1.05% Kids’ Wish List app debuted in 2014, and this year has new features including the ability to write a letter to Santa — and receive a response — within the app. Toys “R” Us has had a “wish list” available online since October of 2008.

Although the retailers’ digital wish lists are limited to items that can be purchased at their stores, a crop of independent websites and apps that allow children and adults to create gift registries from multiple retailers have also popped up, including CheckedTwice and Giftster. Within these apps, users can build their lists and include links to where the items are available. The services also include features for family members, who can view others’ holiday gift lists and mark presents as “purchased” to avoid buying the same gift on one’s list multiple times.

A “wish list” feature was a natural extension for retailers, who in recent years have invested heavily in the mobile shopping experience, said Stephanie Wissink, a senior research analyst for Piper Jaffray, an investment bank and asset management firm.

With good reason. Shoppers spent nearly $3 billion online on Cyber Monday alone this year, with close to half of those purchases being made on mobile devices.

Pinterest, an online pinboard where people share recipes, crafts, articles and design ideas, in recent months added a “buy” button to its pins.

Particularly for younger parents, Wissink said, the time-saving aspect of being able to browse and shop online is important. “There’s a whole movement toward convenience,” she said. “You’re going to see more and more of this digital and mobile engagement with parents.”

CheckedTwice has almost 100,000 users, said Andrew Swick, who released the service with his sister and co-founder Rebecca Hyatt in 2012.

Giftster, which was first available in 2008, has a user base in the “hundreds of thousands,” said Ron Reimann, Giftster’s founder.

CheckedTwice started when Hyatt, who is a developer, emailed a wish list to her family in 2002. Three family members decided to buy her the same gift, a Robert Frost poetry anthology. She started an informal online system for her own family the next year, where they could see which gifts others had purchased for their family members. She and Swick then honed the service’s features until it was made available to the public in 2012.

Despite the utility and time-saving aspects, Swick said there is sometimes negative feedback from the public when it comes to children creating a gift registry.

“A single person wish list can feel a little selfish, or a little greedy to some people,” he said, noting that registries are still typically associated with weddings instead of holiday shopping.

Reimann, the founder of Giftster, said he has heard similar feedback, such as, “Oh my gosh, kids are making lists of things they want, how selfish is that!”

And Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age,” says she thinks it’s better to give the wrong gift and have somebody experience that it was nonetheless heartfelt, than to have the experience of just making a list and feeling entitled to have it fulfilled.

“It really does take time to think about a person who is in your life and what might make them happy,” said Steiner-Adair.

Still, kids have been making lists since long before an online version was available, whether it was circling items they wanted in a store catalog or writing a handwritten letter to Santa.

And some people who use the apps like the organizational aspects, and that they create “a sense of celebrating the good things in their life,” said Reimann.

Kids today are used to communicating online, so this type of digital wish list is just the equivalent of sharing that information in the school yard, said Carley Knobloch, a digital lifestyle expert and mother of two.

“They always ask for a pony and whatever the crazy expensive Barbie sports car is, or whatever else is unattainable to a lot of people,” she said. “Kids understand that (a list) doesn’t mean Santa is bringing every last thing, or that parents should be pressured to feel they should buy every last thing.”

Plus, because it has become more common for family members to live far away from one another, lists can help relatives find a better-matched gift for a child and avoid waste, or the time required to make returns, Wissink of Piper Jaffray said.

“A recipient’s enthusiasm is what validates the purchase, not the time or money you spent,” she said. “When you hear, ‘This is what I wanted!’, you know you nailed it. There’s nothing better for a grandma, grandpa or a mom or a dad.”

“For me as a parent, I think it’s really helpful,” Knobloch said. “I don’t want to end up with a bunch of plastic toys in my house that my kids didn’t want.”

There are a few things parents can do to manage kids’ expectations.

Knobloch tells her own children to include items on their lists at different price points so that family members don’t feel pressure to buy an expensive gift, and she can avoid the awkwardness of communicating with family members about how much they want to spend.

Steiner-Adair also said children should explain why they want each gift on their list, rather than add items without thinking of their meaning.

And making a list can also be an opportunity to talk about the importance of writing a “thank you” note, and using the holidays as a time for making donations or otherwise giving to those in need.

Reimann said he views Giftster not as a source of greed, but as a way to help family members to be specific in their purchases and stick to budgets.

“If people knew what other people really needed or wanted, they would not have to run out at the last minute and overspend or get the wrong thing,” he said.


Forgot to write to Santa? Use an app

Will paper letters to Santa disappear?

  • Email icon
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Linkedin icon
  • Flipboard icon
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  • Resize icon

Referenced Symbols

Hopefully Santa’s elves are good with computers because kids’ holiday wish lists have gone digital.

This holiday season, several retailers have created versions of wish lists online for kids and parents to use.

Wal-Mart WMT, -0.23% first had wish lists available on its website last year, and this holiday season it made the feature available on the store’s app. Target’s TGT, -1.05% Kids’ Wish List app debuted in 2014, and this year has new features including the ability to write a letter to Santa — and receive a response — within the app. Toys “R” Us has had a “wish list” available online since October of 2008.

Although the retailers’ digital wish lists are limited to items that can be purchased at their stores, a crop of independent websites and apps that allow children and adults to create gift registries from multiple retailers have also popped up, including CheckedTwice and Giftster. Within these apps, users can build their lists and include links to where the items are available. The services also include features for family members, who can view others’ holiday gift lists and mark presents as “purchased” to avoid buying the same gift on one’s list multiple times.

A “wish list” feature was a natural extension for retailers, who in recent years have invested heavily in the mobile shopping experience, said Stephanie Wissink, a senior research analyst for Piper Jaffray, an investment bank and asset management firm.

With good reason. Shoppers spent nearly $3 billion online on Cyber Monday alone this year, with close to half of those purchases being made on mobile devices.

Pinterest, an online pinboard where people share recipes, crafts, articles and design ideas, in recent months added a “buy” button to its pins.

Particularly for younger parents, Wissink said, the time-saving aspect of being able to browse and shop online is important. “There’s a whole movement toward convenience,” she said. “You’re going to see more and more of this digital and mobile engagement with parents.”

CheckedTwice has almost 100,000 users, said Andrew Swick, who released the service with his sister and co-founder Rebecca Hyatt in 2012.

Giftster, which was first available in 2008, has a user base in the “hundreds of thousands,” said Ron Reimann, Giftster’s founder.

CheckedTwice started when Hyatt, who is a developer, emailed a wish list to her family in 2002. Three family members decided to buy her the same gift, a Robert Frost poetry anthology. She started an informal online system for her own family the next year, where they could see which gifts others had purchased for their family members. She and Swick then honed the service’s features until it was made available to the public in 2012.

Despite the utility and time-saving aspects, Swick said there is sometimes negative feedback from the public when it comes to children creating a gift registry.

“A single person wish list can feel a little selfish, or a little greedy to some people,” he said, noting that registries are still typically associated with weddings instead of holiday shopping.

Reimann, the founder of Giftster, said he has heard similar feedback, such as, “Oh my gosh, kids are making lists of things they want, how selfish is that!”

And Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age,” says she thinks it’s better to give the wrong gift and have somebody experience that it was nonetheless heartfelt, than to have the experience of just making a list and feeling entitled to have it fulfilled.

“It really does take time to think about a person who is in your life and what might make them happy,” said Steiner-Adair.

Still, kids have been making lists since long before an online version was available, whether it was circling items they wanted in a store catalog or writing a handwritten letter to Santa.

And some people who use the apps like the organizational aspects, and that they create “a sense of celebrating the good things in their life,” said Reimann.

Kids today are used to communicating online, so this type of digital wish list is just the equivalent of sharing that information in the school yard, said Carley Knobloch, a digital lifestyle expert and mother of two.

“They always ask for a pony and whatever the crazy expensive Barbie sports car is, or whatever else is unattainable to a lot of people,” she said. “Kids understand that (a list) doesn’t mean Santa is bringing every last thing, or that parents should be pressured to feel they should buy every last thing.”

Plus, because it has become more common for family members to live far away from one another, lists can help relatives find a better-matched gift for a child and avoid waste, or the time required to make returns, Wissink of Piper Jaffray said.

“A recipient’s enthusiasm is what validates the purchase, not the time or money you spent,” she said. “When you hear, ‘This is what I wanted!’, you know you nailed it. There’s nothing better for a grandma, grandpa or a mom or a dad.”

“For me as a parent, I think it’s really helpful,” Knobloch said. “I don’t want to end up with a bunch of plastic toys in my house that my kids didn’t want.”

There are a few things parents can do to manage kids’ expectations.

Knobloch tells her own children to include items on their lists at different price points so that family members don’t feel pressure to buy an expensive gift, and she can avoid the awkwardness of communicating with family members about how much they want to spend.

Steiner-Adair also said children should explain why they want each gift on their list, rather than add items without thinking of their meaning.

And making a list can also be an opportunity to talk about the importance of writing a “thank you” note, and using the holidays as a time for making donations or otherwise giving to those in need.

Reimann said he views Giftster not as a source of greed, but as a way to help family members to be specific in their purchases and stick to budgets.

“If people knew what other people really needed or wanted, they would not have to run out at the last minute and overspend or get the wrong thing,” he said.


Watch the video: My Open Letter To Santa Claus (January 2022).