I don’t want to sound like a cantankerous old man, but it’s mid October, the leaves are (mostly) still on the trees, baseball is still being played, and I’m already seeing signs of Christmas. Now, I understand why some stores have to put their Christmas trees and decorations out with the Halloween candy - and I’m pretty much over that. The part I’m having a hard time dealing with is that my kids are already asking for Christmas presents.

We have yet to carve the family pumpkins, haven’t overeaten the Thanksgiving feast, or even talked of the onset of snow, but my wife and I are hearing what we “need” to get the kids for Christmas before the good stuff gets sold out. And since this is the Digital Age, we’re hearing about it in ways that I know Al Gore didn’t invent the Interwebs for.

Youngest son is taking the lazy approach. When he sees something he likes, he sends us a link to the item on email. He’s really into video games, and some of the things he wants haven’t even been released yet. But, he’s been kind enough to let us know we can preorder the games now and they’ll automatically come to us when they’re released.

Middle son is a bit more traditional in his gift quest. He’s started a document listing the things he wants, their prices at different online retailers, and we even get an updated version of the document every few days - just so we don’t forget. And since his birthday is next week, he says it’s OK by him if we want to buy any of the things he wants for his birthday, because he’ll find other things to get for Christmas.

Then there’s the oldest boy. He’s built a website – yes, I said WEBSITE – with photos, descriptions, and links to all the things he’d like. A website. So, not only can my wife and I see the site, but we can pass the address along to anyone else who might want to regale him with goodies in the spirit of the Holidays. It’s certainly an original idea, but one would think he could use his web design skills for some kind of greater good.

We don’t mind buying presents for the kids at Christmastime, but do I have to think about it before the Halloween candy goes on sale for half price on November 1st?