In 2013, kids aren't sending Santa a letter with their wish list. They're emailing him the Web address of their wish list.
From mainstays like Amazon.com to new entrants like Flipboard, a number of online tools are available that enable users to quickly add items to their digital wish lists, and then share them with family, friends and, of course, jolly old St. Nicholas.
Here's a look at three wish list tools that could help you get the gifts you want.
AMAZON.COM: People who frequently shop on Amazon should look no further than the online retailer's wish list tool. Within seconds, users can install the Amazon Wish List extension for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. Alternatively, users can install the wish list button as a bookmark, which should work with any browser.
As users browse Amazon's website or other online stores they can click the wish list button, and the item they're viewing will be added to their Amazon account's wish list. Users can then share that list with their friends and family.
Users can adjust the list's settings to make it private so no one else can see it, or make it public so everyone can see it. Users can also choose to limit their list's visibility so only those with the link can see it.
A major benefit to the Amazon Wish List is that once a gift giver has bought an item from the list, that item's status will be changed from "unpurchased" to "purchased." That way no one buys a duplicate gift. Amazon also gives customers a "Don't spoil my surprise" option so recipients won't be alerted when someone buys them a gift. They'll be alerted only if they try to purchase a gift that someone already purchased for them.
The only downside to the Amazon Wish List is that it isn't very visually appealing.
PINTEREST: Pinterest is famous for helping couples plan their weddings, but the website should also be considered for putting together wish lists.
To do so, users can create a new pin board on their account and call it "Wish list" or something along those lines. Then, users should add the Pin It button to their browser. Chrome users can install the Pin It extension, while people with other browsers need to add the bookmark (instructions are on Pinterest's website).
Once that's set up, users browse the Web as usual, and when they come across an item they want, they click the Pin It button and select their wish list pin board. That way, the pin board will become decorated with the gifts they want. Users can then share the pin board's link with their loved ones.
Pinterest is a good option for users who will be adding items from multiple websites, but unlike with Amazon, the wish list won't show that a desired item has been bought unless the buyer posts a comment saying so.
FLIPBOARD: People who want to score style points with their friends and family can use Flipboard to create a digital catalog of the items they want, instead of just making a wish list.
Users will need a Flipboard account, which requires downloading the application for their smartphone or tablet. (There is no app for computers.) Android users can get the app from Google Play; Apple users can head to the App Store.
Once an account is created, users will need to add the flip.it button to their browsers. The button is necessary to create a wish list magazine. Users can head to Flipboard's website to add the flip.it button.
After installing the button, users can surf the Web, and when they come across an item they'd like to receive as a gift, they can press the flip.it button. Flipboard will recognize if the Web page is for a product. Sometimes it will recognize the price of the item on its own; other times, users will have to type it in. Users then select the image of the item that they want Flipboard to use. They can also select a category for the item before hitting "Next."
On the next page, they'll be asked to choose which magazine they want to add the item to. The first time around, click "Create Magazine." Users can type a name and description for the magazine and can choose a category for it. Users can also elect to make the magazine private.
Once users have added more items to their wish list magazine, they can go into editing mode to set a cover photo and share it via Facebook, Twitter or email. Users can also see how many times others have flipped through the magazine.
After users share their wish lists, friends and family can see them either through the Flipboard app or on the Web.
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