She's an honor roll fourth-grader who likes swimming and gymnastics.
When Aneya is online, she likes to visit educational, kid-oriented sites such as FunBrain.com or interactive entertainment sites such as DisneyChannel.com and Nickelodeon.com. Apart from those kid-safe areas, she sometimes likes to shop for shoes on Zappos.com.
The Dixon family computer, an old eMachines desktop running Windows 98, is parked in Aneya's room, though mom Tonya uses it when she needs to get online for some classes. Not all of the programs that family members need are compatible with the older Windows 98 software, so they have been thinking about getting a new computer with wireless access.
Aneya's father got her a Nintendo DS last Christmas, but she only started to use the gaming device in the past few months, playing with titles such as Lizzie McGuire: On the Go. Her father also got her a PlayStation 2, which she mostly plays when she has friends over. She prefers driving games and even has a steering wheel that hooks into the system.
Aneya is angling for a cell phone this year -- many of her friends at school have one -- but her mom isn't on board with that plan.
"I don't agree with cell phones at her age," says Tonya, who is amazed at how savvy kids are about what's cool when it comes to cell phones. Still, she says, she's not having that discussion. "We don't make purchases just because something's the new thing."
Gift suggestions for the grade-schooler on your list
$ I-Dog -- It's one of the most talked-about toys this season. Hasbro's I-Dog is a fun, yet inexpensive, electronic "pet" that doubles as a speaker for any portable music player. Lights on the dog's face blink, and the ears and head move to the beat of the music. It also barks when it needs attention and whimpers when it's being ignored. $30
$$ Fly Pentop Computer -- It looks like a pen but functions as a computer of sorts. Create and play music or do math homework with a pen that will amaze you. Visit www.flypentop.com for a great interactive demo. $99. Also consider: the Game Boy Advance, the handheld gaming device that has a long list of games appropriate for all ages. $80.
$$$ Firefly -- The Firefly is a working cell phone that calls -- and receives calls from -- numbers pre-programmed by parents. The phone itself is $99, and minutes are $10 for 40 minutes, $25 for 100 minutes and $50 for 200 minutes. Visit www.fireflymobile.com to learn more. Also consider: the iPod Shuffle, a flash-memory iPod that stores 512 megabytes ($99) or one gigabyte ($129) of music on a device no bigger than a pack of chewing gum.
$$$$ Desktop computer -- With prices the way they are and so many people leaning toward laptops, a top-notch desktop PC with several years of use ahead of it can be found at a bargain price. The eMachines model T6524, for example, comes with 200 gigabytes of hard drive space and Windows Media Center Edition 2005 -- all for $600.