Give 'em what they really want: Online dollars to use as they please

With 11 nieces and nephews spread across the country, Bruce Kin Huie of San Francisco finds it difficult to be the "doting uncle" he wants to be at Christmas.

Last year Huie sent checks, which he found a bit impersonal, for kids who range in age from 1 to 16.

"I don't know what they're interested in because I see them once or twice a year," he said in a telephone interview.

This year Huie, 52, is budgeting about $40 per child, and is asking them for wish lists on Lottay.com, a Web site that helps people give the gift of money for specific gifts that people want. One of his nephews, for example, is into triathlons and will get $40 in a PayPal transfer from his uncle to buy himself some triathlon gear.