25 December 2011

iPad most desired Christmas gift

Forty-four percent of US children want an iPad under the Christmas tree: A lot to ask for in a country where 46.2 million people, or nearly 15 percent of the population, live in poverty.
In New York City, personally meeting Santa Claus is a lot easier than it sounds. Since November 25, four Santas have been available daily at the Macy's department store, from early morning until late at night, to hear children's pleas for what they want for Christmas.
But it requires parents to navigate with their children through the huge store's eight floors.
Those who really want to play it safe may wish to write a letter to Santa, and Macy's has a North Pole post box for just that purpose.
Jasmine Morrobel, 9, knew what she wants to find under her tree: ''Dear Santa, I believe in you, and I want an iPad for Christmas. Yours, Jasmine from New York City.''
The jolly old elf will certainly be familiar with the request:
according to the market research institute Nielsen, 44 percent of US children ages 6-14 want an iPad this year. Of course, most won't actually get one: the cheapest version of the Apple gadget costs 500 dollars.
According to Nielsen, 30 percent of the letters to Santa from US children are topped by an iPod, while an iPhone appears on another 27 percent.
Young Suri Cruise, of course, presumably has no budget constraints. The daughter of Hollywood stars Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise made headlines with her extravagant wish list.
The US magazine In Touch cited her alleged letter to Santa, which reportedly listed a pony, diamond earrings and custom-made princess gowns as the 5-year-old's favorites. The items on Suri's Christmas wish list cost a combined 130,000 dollars.
Her parents have reportedly already bought the pony. Tom and Katie spare no expense to make Christmas as magical as possible for their little one, the magazine quotes a friend of the family as saying: They buy everything on her list.
Naturally, not all US families can afford to give their children iPads or ponies for Christmas. According to a study by the US Census Bureau, 46.2 million people in the United States lived in poverty in 2010, and the figure has been rising steadily over the last four years, amid recession and unemployment that has been near 9 percent or more since 2008.
The portion of US households who get food stamps to supplement their income rose by 16 percent from 2007 to 2010 to total 13.6 million families.
What can families do when their kids want expensive Christmas gifts?
The Santa Claus School in Michigan has been answering the question for 30 years. Thomas Valent, 62, trains ho-ho-hopefuls in what he describes as the world's largest Santa school, where students are taught to portray Saint Nick.
''The top rule is never to promise anything,'' Valent says.




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