You leave Santa a plate of milk and cookies, and he fills your stocking with an IOU?

It just may play out that way for parents who can't nab a Nintendo (OTC BB: NTDOY.PK) Wii before Christmas. In what may amount to your last reasonable chance to secure a Wii without paying more than its $250 retail price, Nintendo is teaming up with video game retailer GameStop (NYSE:GME) to offer certificates that guarantee Wii deliveries before the end of January.

There are a few catches, of course. This isn't a preorder deposit. Shoppers must pay the full amount of the Wii now. The Nintendo-sanctioned rain checks will also be limited in number and sold through GameStop only on Thursday and Friday of this week -- or until availability runs out.

It may seem like an awfully tempting move for distressed Wii hunters. The Wii system is fetching nearly twice as much as its $250 price on resale sites such as eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY). It may even seem like a tempting move for speculators who are seeing dollar signs.

The latter of the two will likely get stiffed. Keep in mind that Nintendo has been feverishly ramping up supply to keep up with demand. Since the console's successful launch 13 months ago, Nintendo's global production has increased from 1 million to 1.8 million units a month.

Keep in mind that the rain-check promotion will also eat into the pool of potential buyers who have bid Wii prices higher. Once they have prepurchased a Wii, there will be no point in overpaying for another one.

January is also typically a soft month, even if the factories keep churning out new consoles. In other words, January should mark the end of the 13-month run on out-of-stock Wii players.

Shortages this long are rare. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox 360s and Sony (NYSE:SNE) PS3s may have been hard to find during their first few weeks on the market, but they are readily available now. And despite its limited supply and a series of rival price cuts, the Wii still outsold both of its rivals last month.

In short, relief is in sight. Console reselling at premium prices is coming to an end. Software developers can now begin to count on the chunky established base to make their next-generation titles lucratively profitable. For diehard gamers who like to save their pennies for a rainy day, now is the time to round up 25,000 of them for a rain check.

Wii would like more Foolishness:

GameStop, Nintendo, and eBay have been recommended to Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter subscribers. Microsoft is an Inside Value recommendation. You don't need to pay for a rain check here. You can try either service free for the next 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves playing video games, but he doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. He is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.