Opinion | Pop Culture

Holiday Generosity: Now a Click Away

Why I'm thankful for Amazon's new 'Add to Wish List' button.

I have mixed feelings about wish lists. They rob Christmas of creativity, surprise, and personal contact, but they also make shopping much, much easier. And it's nice to know that if I pay attention to the lists, gift recipients won't roll their eyes and return the gifts before the tree is by the curb.

To cut down on my family's December stress, I make my own wish list each year, feeling vaguely guilty (do I need those pearl earrings?). "Get better gifts," orders Amazon.com's wishlistmeister. I don't like his tone.

This year, though, Amazon has vastly improved its wish list, and now I can ask for anything I want from any online supplier. It doesn't even have to be a merchant: it can be a food bank, a cultural or educational organization, a humane society, a church—any organization that has a website and accepts money. All I have to do is put an "Add to Wish List" button on my Favorites or Bookmarks toolbar.

And 2009 is a good year, I think, to bypass the pearl earrings and go straight ...

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