What do people want for the holidays? Cash and other strange things

After a random survey of 1,000 online members, online cash-gift registry Lottay.com believe it has an idea of what shoppers will be searching for come holiday gift-giving time. And according to the survey, it ain't gift cards.

"A cow, a monkey, a hookah, and Satan," well, yeah, but definitely not gift cards.

Cribbing a quote from the Cheapskate column of the Wall Street Journal, Lottay espouses, "Somebody already invented that go-anywhere gift card. It's called cash."

Lottay says tens and twenties are the thing most people want to find stuffed in their stockings in 2009, but since it can be awkward to ask Santa for a crisp Ben Franklin or two, Lottay provides a clever solution.

The site wholeheartedly agrees with the premise of the WSJ article, Gift Cards Will Never Trump Cash, that the recipients of monetary gifts are happy and grateful, while the givers feel like thoughtless schmucks (okay, I paraphrased, but you get the idea). As a result, the one-year-old website encourages users to list dreams both big and small, charitable and otherwise towards which cash gifts can be contributed via PayPal or credit card.

This is not new (as noted in my previous post on online registries). Lottay, however, also allow givers to send cash gifts -- unsolicited by the recipient -- thoughtfully earmarked for that special something you think your loved one has always secretly wanted. This used to be called sending a check in a card, but that is so last year. Now, along with a cash infusion, your friend would receive a personalized online greeting card noting your sentiments. For instance, "Here's a little something to put toward a zoo membership, or perhaps the Howler monkey you've been dreaming of!"

Harry Lin, CEO of Lottay said in a statement, "A Lottay wish doesn't restrict you to choosing merchandise from a catalog. You can wish for anything you want ... love, world peace ... Lottay is the only place you can wish for, and give anything at all."

Really, the only place? That's not wishing, that's delusional, but I digress.

The site's recent survey of 1,000 Lottay members (comprised of 60% females and 40% males) provides a random sampling of requests for 2009. Shoppers start your engines. Survey says: 38% of members are wishing for an experience or something other than a product. Sixty-two percent are still pining for products.

Drum roll please. The top product wishes include Nintendo Wii and Wii games and accessories (wished for twice as much as Sony and Xbox 360 combined). Following in second place is the iPod, trailed closely by cameras and Ugg boots. Most requested "experience" gift ideas include: travel to France, Disneyland or Las Vegas. Some 2.5% of wishers would like puppies. Oddest wishes on Lottay's survey have included a cow, a money, a hookah and Satan.

Lottay notes that "Satan" only cost $200, according to the person who gave him. Personally, that seems a bit high, I know several people who would have let their mothers-in-law go for a lot less.

In the survey response most likely to appear on the MLS, Lottay reports a wish for, "A beautiful, one story, 2-car garage home in a very nice neighborhood, with 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, custom eat-in kitchen with stainless steel appliances (including a Viking range with built-in grill), pantry, sufficient cabinet space, and an island."

Well, who knows; it worked for Virginia.

CEO, Harry Lin's wish list includes Elizabeth Hurley's Organic Beef Jerky ($20 -- who knew! ) as well as a trip to Fiji ($5,000), donations to Doctor's Without Borders, the opportunity to skydive ($200) and a new Camaro ($34,000). It was an impressive, thoughtful and creative list. However, I think Lin forgot to mention one of the things I suspect he's most wishing for this holiday, and that is the high hope that Santa keeps the sleigh parked in the driveway and uses a flying mouse instead.

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