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12 Cards in this Set

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TORONTO, Dec. 13 /CNW/ - The song starts with a partridge in a pear tree,
but who really knows what a partridge is anyway and where are you going to get
a pear tree at this time of year. Shoppers need great gifts and they need them
now, so Future Shop is doing their part and counting down the days until
Christmas with the season's best last minute gift ideas.
Twelve drummers drumming would get on anyone's nerves, but a Bonfire MP3
player with twelve pre-loaded tracks would be music to their ears. From Black
Eyed Peas to the Tragically Hip, this is a must have selection of songs. It
features 128MB of memory so you can add your own selections and will keep on
playing with 43 hours of battery life, long enough to entertain the audio
enthusiast on your list. $129.99
Give the gift of eleven months of memories, accompanied by a brand new
holiday shot, in a personalized photo calendar. Upload photos from that
special trip, add a picture of you in your reindeer antlers and create a very
special calendar at Future Photo. You can even highlight important dates and
include captions under every photo. $19.99
Go old school this year with ten arcade games in a unique plug-and-play
joystick. The Atari 10-In-1 TV Game brings generations of gaming fanatics
together with an Atari 2600 joystick replica that contains ten classic and
beloved Atari video games like Centipede, Asteroids and Pong - just plug it
into your TV and you're ready to play. $34.99
How about nine ladies singing and dancing? CD's from Shania, Hilary,
Britney, Avril, Lindsey, Kelly and the three ladies of Destiny's Child are
sure to be popular additions to any stocking. $11.99 to $14.99
For those with a more classic style, don't miss eight great composers
with The Great Composers 8-CD box set that features Mozart, Bach, Beethoven
and Tchaikovsky among others. $14.99.
How about seven inches of LCD in a small and very portable DVD player.
Watch movies on the run, in the car or anywhere for that matter with your own
personal entertainment player. It even plays CDs, MP3s and Windows Media
files. $349.99
Capture all the action with six mega-pixels in the Canon Digital Rebel
digital camera. With it's big LCD viewing screen and high speed focus, you
won't miss a moment with this very traditional looking SLR camera. $1299.99
As implausible as it seems, a generation of young adults weaned in the age of Sega, Nintendo and PlayStation has found uncommon satisfaction in picking up an old-fashioned deck of Hoyles.
For the first time in recent history, experts say, interest in the card game of poker has trumped the muscular might of graphics-driven video game systems like XBox, even during the Christmas season.

"I love the fact that old school games are taking center stage in front of the flashier games that used to exist," said Dean Tsouvalas, writer of the Lycos 50. "Poker is by far the most popular game this year."

Lycos 50 summarizes the 50 hottest searches by millions of computer users who search the Internet with the help of the Lycos search engine. Poker is 10th on the list and has remained on the Top 50 list for the past 10 months.
Peace on earth, good will toward men -- but only before the presents are opened.

Afterwards, it's more like "grab the controller; let's get ready for a drive-by shooting."

With violent video games and toys among the hottest gifts this holiday season, local religious leaders are urging their faithful to think twice before picking up a copy of the hottest violent game.

"I do think it creates a mindset that this behavior is all right, that violence is a legitimate option to resolve things," said the Rev. Philip Tracy of the Parish of the Holy Spirit in Waterville.

Tracy is urging parents to talk to their children about why they wouldn't want to play violent games instead of simply banning them from under the Christmas tree.

"Instead of just saying 'no,' parents should share how these activities and games have a darker side," he said.

Public outcry against violent toys -- especially video games -- tends to serve as free-publicity campaigns for manufacturers, said the Rev. Kimberly Murphy, pastor at Winthrop United Congregational Church.

Murphy urged parents
I'm sure there're a few Birdie-Bucks stashed away for that special golfer, but I'm equally certain the word "clueless" comes to mind when shoppers slice through the door of the local golf shop, Golf Etc. or Nevada Bob's.

Golfers are particular, peculiar and downright persnickety when shafts, heads, putters, titanium, copper and 2-balls are mentioned, but just like Mighty Mouse, "Here it comes to save the day." Just in time for the last nine holes of shopping, the Top Ten Golf Gifts of 2004 will cure any duck-hooked void under the 150-yard marker Christmas tree.
On December 22, a ship is due to dock at Felixstowe with a cargo that for many boys could have meant the difference between a happy and a miserable Christmas.

It contains this year's hottest toy, the futuristic Robo Sapiens robot - costing £80 and designed by a Nasa scientist - which is in shortening supply in shops up and down the country.

All the space age technology in the world is not enough to get it through Customs and into the shops in time for Christmas, however, meaning some parents will have to brace themselves for that crushingly brave smile from a child that does not quite hide the disappointment.
From digital cameras and spray-painted poinsettias to pink sapphires and Hokey Pokey Elmo, local retailers have their fingers on the pulse of what's hot for Christmas gifts this season.

''Christmas is on a Saturday this year, so the Monday before, people will really get into the thrill of the season,'' said Tina Nielsen, a certified gemologist at Nielsen Jewelers, 753 Broadway, Lorain. She said the hottest-moving items in her store right now are engagement rings and earrings, particularly those with colored stones, such as pink tourmaline and pink sapphire gemstones.

And earrings aren't just Christmas gifts for women anymore.

''We had a mother purchasing a diamond hoop earring for her son today,'' said Nielsen.

At Kaplan's Furniture, 638 W. Broad St., Elyria, Santa has been given a big task to deliver leather recliners and couches, which are hot sellers this year, said store owner Richard Kaplan.

''Leather is extremely affordable these days, compared to what it's been,'' said Kaplan.

Other hot sellers, said Kaplan, are big-screen TVs and audio equipment for home theaters.

''But recliners are always a big item for the holidays,'' said Kaplan.

Lovers of the grape can look forward to gifts of sweet wines this year, according to Rosalie Currier, who, with her husband Richard, own and operate the Amherst Party Shop, 275 S. Main St., Amherst.

''We're selling a lot of sweet wines this season,'' said Currier, ''such as Columbia Cellarmaster's Riesling, and moscato d'asti.''

The Riesling comes from Germany and is also made in California. The moscato d'asti hails from Italy but is also made domestically, said Currier.

At Steve and Barry's University Sportswear in Westfield Shoppingtown Midway, the best-selling Christmas gifts have The Ohio State University logo emblazoned on them.

''Anything with Ohio State on it, and anything warm, from sweaters and coats to long-sleeved shirts,'' is popular this season, said store manager Keith Eedy.

''Generally, Ohio State is the top seller,'' said Eedy, with other state schools such as Ohio University, the University of Akron and the University of Toledo trailing.
According to Swinderman, for the second year in a row one of the hottest items appears to be the Honda CR250R featuring Ricky Carmichael – a radio-controlled motorcycle that can reach speeds of up to 20 mph.

“We won’t demonstrate it in the store because it goes so fast,” Swinderman said.

Carmichael, a world-renown motocross athlete, has won 25 125cc American Motorcyclist Assn. motocross races.

Last year, RadioShack had a waiting list for the toy until March.

“We had to call all over the country finding these for people,” Swinderman said.

At $129.99, the speed demon has a gyroscopic stabilizing system to keep the miniature motorist upright no matter what the terrain. Noting the popularity of the Honda CR250R, Swinderman said radio-controlled vehicles have been a traditional best seller.

“We sell quite a few radio-controlled cars,” he said.

And the fare is becoming quite luxurious. In the past couple of years, Hummers have been a popular design. Online stores sell radio-controlled Mini Coopers as well as Audi TT Roadsters. RCVs come in various shapes and forms, from the classic buggy style made popular in past decades to the recent RC Hovercraft, priced at $39.99.

Entertainment technology has seen a bevy of baubles as well, such as iPods and other MP3 players, mobile libraries of music that can be transferred for a small fee from the Internet.
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”.

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

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

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 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

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 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

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 or call 020 8780 7277.,3604,1370772,00.html
The bargain basement Christmas

Julia Finch and Heather Tomlinson
Friday December 10, 2004
The Guardian

The Guardian took retail analysts to two of the UK's biggest shopping centres to see if Christmas has finally come for the retail sector.
Is 2004 going to be a black Christmas for retailers? The evidence is mixed. Some surveys show they are braced for a serious downturn in trade as the impact of five interest rate rises and faltering house prices hits consumer confidence. Others, however, just believe shoppers are becoming more canny, and deliberately choosing to leave their shopping until the last minute in the hope of picking up sale bargains - especially this year with an entire shopping week before Christmas Day on a Saturday.

Yesterday the picture remained confused. While John Lewis released a set of grisly sales figures - showing takings down 4.2% on last year's levels during the week to December 4 - the managers of the vast Bluewater shopping centre in Kent say visitor numbers were 3% up on the same week last year, to 680,000. Marketing manager Alan Jones forecasts "modest growth" in spending of some 2% this year to £200m.

Yesterday the Guardian invited two leading retail analysts - Simon Proctor of Charles Stanley and Iain McDonald of Numis - to Bluewater and to Trafford Park, Manchester, to see how the shopkeepers are faring.

At Bluewater shoppers were far from out in force. The numbers picked up during the day, but few shops had long checkout queues.

At the Trafford Centre the morning was slow but by lunchtime the immense expanse of car park looked almost full. November was a bad month for most retailers but the shopping centre said customer numbers in November were up 4% on 2003. The first three days of this week were 7% up on the year before and a spokeswoman said Trafford Park is now averaging 100,000 customers a day.
Sports can help with Christmas lists
From Staff Reports
Stumped on Christmas ideas for the sports fans in your household? Looking for a gift that keeps on giving well after the holidays have passed? Looking for a practical way to take advantage of one of the country's busiest sports markets?

re's just the ticket. Literally.

Most of the Valley's pro and college sports teams have ticket packages in place that work well as Christmas gifts, and at prices that fit most budgets, too.

Where to start? How about the hottest ticket in town? The Phoenix Suns, off to a blazing start, offer a variety of packages suitable for Christmas giving. The Suns offer three different six-game ticket packages, with prices ranging from $75 to $555. The team also offers the 10-game Rawlings package, which includes a Rawlings basketball. There are also Subway Family Night packs, which feature four game tickets, four Subway sandwiches, four soft drinks and four coupons for ice cream starting at $75.

The newest wrinkle on the Valley's sports scene is at Phoenix International Raceway, which will feature a second Nextel Cup race in April.

The additional race has created a buzz, says Jay Wagner, director of ticketing at PIR.

"Everybody is really excited because it's the first night race of the season,'' Wagner said. "In fact, both of our races are generating a lot of excitement because our second race is the second to last race in the Chase for the Cup.''

PIR has developed packages for tickets to both races. Four-day passes, good for both events, range from $340 to $385, while two-day passes, again good for both events, range from $145 to $165. Races for the spring race are available from $35 to $85.
DECEMBER 11, 2004 -- It's one of the hottest gifts this holiday: the iPod. It's a personal mini juke-box that lets you download thousands of songs and play them anywhere.

"It really is the wave of the future," said Jon DeOliveira, customer service manager at Best Buy on South College Road. "Everything going forward is computerized or has something to do with electronics."

DeOliveira said that's why electronics are topping Christmas lists this year.

"XM (satellite) radio and digital cameras," DeOliveira said. "Nintendo DS is the new hand held game. As fast as they come in, they're going out. We can't keep them on the shelves."

"I want this James Bond game and another game, and maybe the new XM radio," said 17-year-old Chris O'Neill, who is testing out the new games at Best Buy.

While some come to Best Buy to play with all the gadgets, others come with a gift in mind. They're shelling out big bucks for the high-tech toys.

"With technology and advances, things are getting more expensive," DeOliveira said. "But, people are spending the money. So, that's a good thing."

Gift cards are another hot stocking stuffer. CD's and DVD's are still popular, especially to go with all those electronic gifts.;COXnetJSessionID=B2o21uLNiGeHXq3XvVPynvUrvEqeNwwGUxzRyQq1mMsHPrer1ebk!-1212608459?urac=n&urvf=11029811827090.691587642872197
Some of this year's new gadgets aren't really new, but are the result of converging technology geared toward multitaskers who like mixing business with pleasure. For instance, this year's hottest items could be devices that condense the power of a desktop computer into the convenience of a cell phone, with a digital camera and wireless Internet capability thrown in.

New smartphones can enhance e-mail, Internet use

The Motorola MPx and Treo 650 smartphone are the newest devices incorporating the latest in hand-held technology. Both are expected to be available in stores before Christmas.

These units allow you to send and receive e-mail, organize data using Microsoft software, manage phone calls, browse the Internet or take photos with built-in digital cameras.

Both brands feature QWERTY keyboards and touchscreen technology for text entry and data input. The Motorola MPx comes with a stylus and dual-hinge landscape that allows the phone to open vertically like a conventional phone or horizontally like a notebook PC, according to the company.

For fun, both brands have color screens on which you can view streaming video and play games. Each plays MP3 music and has memory-expansion slots for more music, games or business tools.

For now, neither device is available in stores, but representatives from both companies say the units should be out before Christmas. The Treo 650 is available through either the Palm or Treo online stores. Retail price for the Treo 650 is about $600, depending on service carrier. Sprint is currently offering a $150 rebate.

Cell phones can be connected to SAT questions