"Dad, I want that. And that! And I really want this!" 

There's a reason we don't take our four children shopping very often. It's because shopping with children is pretty much the least fun thing about the holidays. Of course, that's mostly because stores are really really good at getting kids to look at all of the shiny objects and as a parent, it's exhausting to keep saying "no."

But to the retailer, that's the entire point. Just stop saying "no" and buy lots of stuff.

But young children don't shop on Amazon, at least not in our home. Which means that the world's largest online retailer misses out on their powers of persuasion, Sure, parents end up buying most of the gifts on Amazon anyway, but only after going a few rounds with the kids as they walk through Target or Walmart. 

Which is why Amazon's decision to send out a holiday toy catalog is totally brilliant. Yes, a physical, ink-on-paper catalog. Full of toys. In your mailbox. 

There used to be companies that made their money selling products to consumers through the mail. Companies like Montgomery Ward, Sears, and even JC Penny would mail out thick catalogs that customers would thumb through. Then they'd send back an order form and their products would arrive a week or so later. 

But Amazon killed--or deeply wounded--all of those businesses and no one does that anymore. Shoppers just visit the online version of the catalog (aka, a website) and has the stuff delivered the next day. Sometimes even faster. 

This weekend my wife handed me this catalog from Amazon and I literally had the thought in mind that this was an incredibly smart move on Amazon's part. The headline says "Play Together." The bright orange star at the top says "ultimate wish list for kids!" which, roughly translated, means "ultimate budget-buster for parents."

Don't get me wrong, it's a really nice catalog. It's printed on heavy paper, and there are lots of big photos and even ideas for fun activities. It has all of the things your kids are going to be drooling over this Holiday. Which is why it's brilliant. That's also why it's a headache.

Because now my children are going to be going through it, and for the next two months, all I'm going to hear is "dad, I want that!" 

I guess I could just throw it away, but I'm not Scrooge. After all, there's a certain humor in knowing you've been beaten by a better foe, and Amazon is very good at this game. Actually, in some ways, it's entirely new to this part of the game. I've never gotten a catalog from Amazon before. But I have gotten one from Target, Kohls, Walmart, and a bunch of other places. 

Which is really the point, right? Amazon isn't about to let those competitors have all the fun. Of course, to buy any of the items from Amazon, you still have to go online, but when you do, Amazon even has a dedicated site featuring the toys from the catalog. 

Hang, on I have to see if they sell batteries in this catalog. I have a feeling I'm going to need a few extra this year.