Some shoppers opt to register

Promo from MyRegistry.com, an online gift registry

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: Half the battle of holiday shopping is thinking of a perfect gift. Gift cards are an easy solution, reduce some of the stress. There's another that's becoming very popular: online gift registries. Dan Ankeles reports.


Dan Ankeles: The holidays are supposed to be a festive time, but then the craziness begins . . .

Female Shopper 1: I think my least favorite thing is trying to come up with the perfect gift for 25 different people, all in the space of a week.

And the tension kicks in . . .

Female Shopper 2: When people don't treat each other good because they're so stressed and they're mean to each other.

And then did you get the right presents? Why not use the Internet to find out?

Nancy Lee: With our system, basically you can add absolutely anything, and that goes from products to services. You can add opera tickets. You can add a night of babysitting for your children.

Nancy Lee is president of MyRegistry.com. The website lets people create a gift registry complete with links to stores. When people buy gifts this way, MyRegistry gets commissions.

Thousands have created holiday-themed registries for themselves or their families on the site, says Lee. It's a discrete way to give people options.

Lee: You know, it puts you in a very awkward position when people ask you what kind of gift they should buy for your children, because you don't know how much money they want to spend.

This way, you can buy something you can afford, or contribute what you want towards an expensive gift.

Cecilia Fatzinger, an Internet savvy homemaker from Bowie, Maryland, has 11 children to worry about this holiday season. But she's appalled at the crass commercialism the service promotes.

Cecilia Fatzinger: What I think will happen is that kids starting at a young age will start thinking, "I can have whatever I want. It's about me and about what I get," not about, you know, Christmas being a celebration of the birth of Christ.

Fatzinger says the service solves a problem that actually helps build children's character.

Fatzinger: We're not going to say, "He got something better than I did." We're not going to tell people, "I already have that," or "I didn't want that, 'cause that is being disrespectful and rude and not grateful and that's not what Christmas is all about."

And she says not getting what you want can teach a valuable lesson.

Fatzinger: Well I think it's good to be disappointed sometimes. It's called realistic. It's called real life.

In Washington, I'm Dan Ankeles for Marketplace.

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