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http://www.valleystar.com/localnews_more.php?id=55835_0_19_0_M
A pocket-size electronic gadget is one of the few new items to entice shoppers this holiday season, while anything electronic is a popular purchase. This year’s hot must-have is Apple’s iPod digital music player, which sells for between $250 and $300, depending on the model. It works with iTunes to download music from the Internet.

Target is among the local retailers selling the 5.6-ounce device. The iPod operates on a rechargeable lithium battery that lasts as much as 12 hours per charge and can store as many as 5,000 songs, allowing aficionados to clip an entire music library to his or her hip.
http://www.thetranscript.com/Stories/0,1413,103~9049~2567217,00.html
In the 1980s Americans clamored for Cabbage Patch Kids. Life was simpler back then, before holiday wish-lists featured merchandise with eye-popping price tags.

By the mid 1990s, the plush toy craze went borderline electronic with Tickle Me Elmo's conniving giggles.

For the 2000s, however, forget plush toys for hot holiday buys. Now that everyone has settled into the digital age, electronics have become the new it-toys and must-haves for as far as the eye can see. When it comes to big holiday purchases this year, local and regional retailers suggest these options
http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/11/26/sprj.hs03.hot.gift/index.html
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) - Many years, one holiday gift stands out from the rest, thanks to word of mouth, ubiquitous marketing and persistent kids. Some shoppers will stop at nothing - whether it's trampling others, driving miles out of their way or paying much more than market price - to get their hands on the year's hottest gift.

Some of the big names of the past include Cabbage Patch Kids in 1983 and Tickle-Me Elmo in 1996, but toys aren't the only items that can captivate the American shopper. Michael Jordan's signature shoes caused a mad rush in the late 1980s, and when DVD players went under the $200 mark, they too were hard to find.

So far in 2003, no single superior gift has emerged, but there are plenty of candidates.

This shopping season, a journey to the mall might feel more like a trip down memory lane, as updated versions and snazzy packaging create comebacks for many past favorites.

Strawberry Shortcake dolls, Care Bears, Transformers, He-Man action figures and those Cabbage Patch Kids cover the shelves at stores like Toys "R" Us and FAO Schwarz. Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, is one of many places offering Slinky, Mr. Potato Head, and Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles.

"People who grew up with these toys in the 1980s are now becoming parents and bringing them back to the market for their kids," said Patrice Duker of the International Council of Shopping Centers, a 44,000 member trade association that promotes the shopping center industry. "Also, the mood in the country is such that people are going back to what they once knew and enjoyed."
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=592118
FORGET Father Christmas ... it's granny and grandpa who make the magic happen, according to a survey.

A third of grandparents spend a MONTH trudging around the shops to ensure they get the right presents for their family.

Twenty per cent start putting away money from their hard-earned pensions as early as January.

And in an age when much of the mystery of gift-giving has gone - with most relatives asking children exactly what they want or giving cash - grandparents are the ones most likely to spring a surprise.

Two-thirds of grannies and over 60% of granddads make secret inquiries about what their grandchildren would like, and keep the gift completely under wraps.

The poll of 4,000 households was conducted by Skipton Building Society, in conjunction with the launch of its Child Trust Fund - a special savings account available to all children born on or after 1 September 2002, which is funded by the Government.

Grandparents emerged as the most thoughtful buyers of Christmas presents.
http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=3857226
As parents across the country face the shopping centre scrum for Britain’s hottest Christmas gifts, an international development charity today unveiled its own top 10 of gifts “that keep on giving”.

As analysts predict another bumper year for festive spending, VSO – the Voluntary Service Overseas charity – is calling on shoppers to help change the world.

This year charities across the country are promoting new ways for people to find presents that give a little more and VSO has unveiled a countdown of its top picks.
http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=3857226
10: The Divine Chocolate company, which gives farmers a fair price for their chocolate, is selling a variety of chocolate goods, including an advent calendar and gold coins, at all leading supermarkets, Oxfam shops or online at www.goodnessdirect.co.uk

9: Sight Savers is appealing for donations of £20 to help fund outreach clinics in rural areas in Africa, helping villagers get urgent eye care. For more information visit www.sightsavers.org.uk

8: A VSO trek to India next August costs £199. The trek passes through Ladhakh, known as Little Tibet, in the Himalayas and participants have to raise £2,500 which will go towards VSO’s work in India.

7: Traidcraft’s range of fairly traded toys, including puzzles, skittles and a croquet set. Visit www.traidcraftshop.co.uk or call 0870 443 1018 for the full range of products from food to clothes, stationery to wine.

6: VSO is offering people the chance to Sponsor a Region. If you have close links to an area of Africa or Asia you might like to support communities there with a sponsorship to a VSO project in the area.

5: Online book seller Amazon is helping charities via a new scheme which offers people the chance to buy books via a charity’s website ensuring the good cause receives a percentage of the sale. Visit Amazon at www.amazon.co.uk

4: A new guide to London’s best nightlife, the Ultimate Restaurant and Leisure Book, is donating £5 from every sale to humanitarian organisation Care International.

3: By using innovative new internet service www.giveasyouget.net you can buy your Christmas presents from all major retailers at the same price but for every item sold between two and 20% is donated from the sale to charity.

2: Via Oxfam’s website you can buy 10 chickens for a poor family in the developing world fro just £10. The gift is available at www.oxfam.org.uk

1: Finally, VSO is appealing for people to sponsor one of their volunteers in Ethiopia. Volunteers are training teachers to help educate children across the country – just two volunteers can train enough teachers to benefit 800,000 children. Just £14 is enough to support one volunteer for a week and to help all you need to do is visit www.vso.org.uk/giving or call 020 8780 7277.