Sometimes Santa's elves (who look a lot like grandparents sometimes) need some direction to know what to bring your little ones (or even you) for Christmas. Or sometimes Santa himself (who looks a lot like you and me...) needs a reminder of what little Jimmy has been wanting that you may or may not have promised if he'd be reeeeally good that one time at the mall... or what Santa promised herself for putting up with Jimmy at the mall that one time...
Online wishlists are a convenient place to keep one comprehensive list of everything on your family's wishlist, for any time of the year. I use my online wishlist to keep track of what few things I can get my husband to admit that maybe he'd like to have, if they weren't too expensive. (So far that list has ONE item on it this year. Santa's going to have to do some investigative work...)
I also like using my wishlist when I shop around online: do I like this shirt better than that one? or that one or THAT one? My wishlist allows me to see the items I'm comparing on a single page, and I can save them for later... for when I decide that maybe I should just buy them all....
There are loads of different online services to help you build your wishlist, but today I'll just introduce you to two: Google's Shopping List (of course!) and Wishlist.com.
Google Shopping List (part of the Google product search engine) has a built-in shared wishlist feature. You can access your list directly (once you've logged in to your Google account) at http://www.google.com/shoppinglist or start searching for products by clicking on Shopping at the top left of the Google homepage or your personal iGoogle page.
From there, you can search for products, compare prices, and read product reviews. When you decide what product you want, click Add to Shopping List. From your shopping list, you can choose to add that item to your Shared Wishlist, which is public and searchable. (Friends can find your Shared Wishlist by entering your email address in the "Find a friend's shopping list" field.) You can also add notes to your wishlist items, such as "in blue" or "possibly less expensive in-store" or whatever else you'd like to note.
Google Shopping List is a simple and easy way to create (and optionally share) a single shopping and wish list. It's made even easier by the fact that you don't have to create a new account and password to remember, since it's integrated with your Google account already. However, if you are a list-maker (like me) who wants more than one list or lists for certain occasions, Wishlist.com may be more to your liking.
Wishlist.com account, you can create as many separate wishlists as you want/need: one for you, one for The Mr, one for the kid(s), one for crazy things you'll buy when you win the lottery. With each list, you can choose to make the list public, shared only with your Wishlist friends, or private, and you can also make each list password protected.
You can shop and buy right within Wishlist, but if you shop elsewhere, you can still add those items to your list using the bookmarklet. Add this little button to your bookmark toolbar and you can add any item from anywhere online to your wishlist just by clicking the button. Once you've verified information that Wishlist automatically detects, such as product name, price, and image, you'll be directed to Wishlist.com to choose a list and add any additional information about the product. Simple as that.
PS -- If you maybe have a new pair of earrings on your wishlist, I'm giving a pair of my favorite away! Come on over to just Lu and enter the giveaway.