An Apple iPad mini, left, is held next to an iPad at an Apple store in San Francisco, Friday, Nov. 23, 2012.
An Apple iPad mini, left, is held next to an iPad at an Apple store in San Francisco, Friday, Nov. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Lily Morton is a girl who knows what she wants.

Perusing the aisles of the electronics section in Toys R Us, the 4-year-old from New Freedom told her mother exactly what she hopes Santa will bring - an iPad.

Joined by her mother, Shawna Jacoby, and 1 ½ -year-old sister, Melanie Morton, the shoppers browsed the West Manchester Township toy store in search of a cheaper option.

Apple's coveted hand-held computer costs anywhere from about $400 to $900, depending on the model, memory and features.

Other brands can be purchased for about $100 to $500.

"The Apple line is too much. A tablet that's $150 is a lot more reasonable for a 4-year-old," Jacoby said.

She and her daughters were checking out the Tabeo, a 7-inch kid's tablet sold at Toys R Us for $149.

Shawna Jacoby and her daughters Melanie, 1-1/2, and Lily Morton, 4, pause outside the Toys R Us in West Manchester Township after Christmas shopping there
Shawna Jacoby and her daughters Melanie, 1-1/2, and Lily Morton, 4, pause outside the Toys R Us in West Manchester Township after Christmas shopping there Thursday. Lily, like many kids her age, is hoping for an iPad this year. The family lives in New Freedom. (Bill Kalina photo)
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Lily asked for a tablet this year because her 8-year-old sister Kylie Morton has one, their mother said.

This year, Kylie has asked for an iPhone, Jacoby said.

"It gets difficult as they get older," she said.

A recent study shows kids aren't asking for tablets designed for their age group, such as the Leapfrog LeapPad, Tabeo or Nabi. Instead, they're asking for Apple devices and video game systems, such as the new Nintendo Wii U and Kinect for Xbox 360.

About 50 percent of all American kids ages 6 to 12 want an iPad, and 36 percent want the iPad Mini, according to a survey by Nielsen, a market research and ratings think tank.

If they don't ask for the iPad or iPad Mini, they're asking for the iPod Touch or iPhone, the survey showed.

"My kid wants the (iPod) Touch, and he's only in second grade," said Tamara Dawson, a York City resident.

She said it remains to be seen if Santa will put the $300 device under the family's Christmas tree.

"It's tough because I know it's what he wants the most, but I try to remind him Santa has a lot of presents to deliver to a lot of kids," Dawson said.

At the same time, she doesn't want her child to be disappointed.

"It's not so much Christmas morning that I worry about. It's how he might feel when he goes to school and hears his friends all got the gift he wanted, but didn't get," she said.

Dawson said the guilt and price tags are a lot for one parent to manage, so she tries to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

"I try to teach my kids to be thankful we have our health and our love. We're together, and that's all that really matters, not all the money stuff," she said.

In Melissa Kostner's home, the wish lists of her children are worth thousands of dollars, she said.

"It's enough to drive any parent crazy. Wii U, several $60 games, iPads, iPhones and all the cases for them - they want it all," the West York resident said.

Unless Santa has time to take on a second job, Kostner said she doubts he could afford it all.

"Hopefully they have layaway in the North Pole," she said.

- Candy Woodall can also be reached at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.