Can't Santa Just Make Me an iPod? (So You Don't Have to Buy One)

Family Matters on 12.13.12
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Photo: Laura St. John

My kids still believe in Santa, so it gets a little tricky when all they want for Christmas is very high-priced tech toys. They think they are doing me a favor by putting it on their list -- so Santa can just make it for them and I don't have to spend money on it. Yeah -- thanks.

Do high-priced tech toys top your child's wishlist? Here are some tips that may really help.

1. Flip This Simple Question Back to Them. When your child says, all I want is an iPod, flip it back to him and ask, "Why?" Before you even consider purchasing a tech item, find out from your child why he wants it. Is it because his best friend got one? Is it because he wants to play games? Find out if it's even a reason that would be worth your consideration. My eight-year-old answered, "Because I want to facetime (video chat) with my cousins." Enough said. If I can help connect my son with his cousins 1800 miles away, then to me, the technology is worth the investment.

2. Look for Technology Hand-Me-Downs. If price is an issue, then you don't have to buy new. Besides used and refurbished devices you can now find at local stores, think about friends and family that may be getting new technology this holiday and outgrowing their old technology. I'm happy to say, I really scored this year: My sister is getting my nieces new devices this Christmas, and she's giving me their "old" iPods to give my sons. Facetime request solved! Thanks, sis.

Luke on tech
Photo: Laura St. John / Luke's tech hand-me-down

3. Purchase As a Family Device. If you have multiple kids and can't swing or justify the cost of multiple devices for multiple kids, then you can get one big "together" gift as a family unit. I suggest leading the kids through a treasure hunt around the house and make it a really big deal. Last year, Santa left clues all around our house, leading to the next clue, until we finally went upstairs and found the Xbox Kinect game system. Really think through what the best "big" technology device would be that can be used together -- rather than fought over.

Although being Santa comes with financial pressures, I can finally exhale on Christmas morning, when the light in their eyes and faces bring the magic that make it all worth it. Then I realize -- I really don't look forward to the day that they know Santa just can't make them an iPod.

Photo: Laura St. John / Will's special gift from Santa to hold our elf for 24 hours.

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A Note to the Parents of Non-Believers