New digital technology for kids to get in touch with Santa

New digital technology for kids to get in touch with Santa


Santa’ elves now must be good with digital technology as children chose to write to them via apps. Several retailers have come up with new versions of which lists online for kids and their parents.

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. 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.”

Last year, Wal-Mart generated its very first wish list over website but this holiday season brings up a surprise when the retailer has made the feature accessible over mobile apps. In 2014, Target’s Kids’ Wish List app debuted – a new feature is within an app to write a letter to Santa where response can also be received. Since October 2008, Toys “R” Us has had a “wish list” available online.

Apart from this, a crop of independent websites and apps allowing children and adults for creating gift registries from multiple retailers have also popped up despite of retailer’s digital wish lists to be having a limited number of items – CheckedTwice and Giftster for instance. With these apps, users can create their lists and incorporate a link within from where items are accessible.  Moreover, 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.

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.

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.

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I handle much of news coverage for tech stocks, and occasionally cover companies in different sectors. In the past, I've written for other financial sites and published independent investment research, primarily on tech companies. I have a B.A. in Economics from Columbia University. I'm based out of San Diego, but grew up in Southern New Jersey. I play basketball and tennis in my spare time, am a long-time (and long-suffering) fan of Philadelphia's sports teams, and alternate daily between using an iPad Air, a Galaxy Note 3, and one or two Windows PCs.