Posts Tagged ‘gift’

U.S. Consumers Expect to Spend 11% Less on Christmas Gifts

Households across the U.S. plan to fork out about $418, on average, for gifts during Christmas season 2008; this figure, according to The Conference Board, is 11.3 percent lower than in 2007.

The Conference Board’s survey of Christmas gift spending found that consumers are in a cost-conscious mood. Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board’s consumer research center, said, “This is shaping up to be one of the most challenging holiday seasons in years, and it’s going to take more than the usual discounts and incentives from retailers to get consumers to spend more freely.”

By region, the survey found that those in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin intend to spend the most, with an average of $550. The lowest range, with a household average of $330, came from the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.

Twenty-seven percent of all households plan to spend $500 or more on Christmas gifts, down from 33 percent in this category during 2007. Thirty-seven percent plan to spend between $200 and $500, and 35 percent are planning to spend less than $200.

The Conference Board found that 39 percent of all consumers plan to buy Christmas gifts online. Jewelry as a gift category was named by 10.1 percent of consumers who intend to purchase online. The most popular gifts, cited by 37.9 percent of survey respondents, were books, followed by toys/games, apparel, movies/DVDs and music.

Barbie in a Christmas Carol

Barbie’s latest movie “Barbie in a Christmas Carol” (2008) is an absolute hit. It’s awesome and as long as you have children, grandchildren or stay young at heart, Barbie in a Christmas Carol is one movie you can add to your yearly must-watch Christmas movies collection.

Oh, and mind you; I’m not alone in my critique and opinion either! I just finished watching the new DVD with my 10 year old daughter and the movie had her oooh-ing and aaah-ing but also at times dancing around.

Anyone familiar with Charles DickensA Christmas Carol knows the story and will easily recognize it in Mattel’s rendition.

Barbie stars as Eden Starling, a true Ebenezer Scrooge if ever there was one!

Watch the Barbie in a Christmas Carol DVD trailer preview to get a glimpse of what’ll happen (no spoilers!):

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The movie stays true to story and thus provides insight, some laughs and really good Christmas cheer. This was the first Christmas movie my daughter and I watched this season (well, no, we watched and old VHS recording of Garfield’s Christmas Special last week but this was the first Christmas movie) and we ended the movie in a real feeling of Christmas spirit.

The artwork is as we’re used from Barbie movies: fabulous. Check out this scene where the ghost of Christmas past brings Eden Starling (played by Barbie) back to a Christmas kept bleak by her aunt but so enriched by her friend’s family.

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As you see, the ghost of Christmas past is a cute fairy. The ghost of Christmas present is a jolly lady, very hearty and kind. The ghost of Christmas future is very well done; Mattel hints at her being dreary but within seconds she takes off her cap and looks like a regular lady … albeit one who seems sad that she has to bring a bad message. Really nothing scary here and you can absolutely watch this with young children.

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Barbie herself certainly has her own ideas about this movie and the clothes she’s wearing in it. We were able to catch an interview with Barbie about her starring role in A Christmas Carol.

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Apart from full-price new ones, sharply discounted versions are already available on — as always including Amazon’s regular consumer protection in place.

Barbie A Christmas Carol Wallpaper

A little Christmas gift for those with the movie of for those who don’t have it (yet?): free Barbie
wallpaper with scenes from Barbie’s A Christmas Carol. Want to make your own Barbie custom T-shirts for Christmas? You can
do that too, and all online for your convenience.

Click on the image for the large desktop background version.

Dewey the Library Cat – Perfect Christmas Book Gift

Dewey is a special cat; you could almost say a miracle cat.

Librarians one morning found him in the returned book chute, almost frozen stiff.

They brought him in and gently defrosted him.

Grateful for his life Dewey didn’t want to leave the library. And, as it turned out he didn’t have to either.

The head librarian lobbied for and finally received permission to keep Dewey in the library.

He became a fixture. He would attend the weekly meetings and in the morning he would greet early visitors right at the front door.

Some people became so and there was him they wanted to check them out, just like a book!

“Dewey never left the library. He was a come-visit-me cat.

I always knew he could be famous. I knew he was special.

Dewey always surprised me. I’ve learned that his magic was going to go on, and it did. Dewey always took care of me, and he still is.

Dewey’s eyes were very, very special. They said volumes.”
— author Vicki Myron

As it goes, people talk. And those people talk to other people. Pretty soon became a local celebrity, then the statement celebrity… then national television arrived… and finally even a Japanese movie company. He even starred on calendars.

But all good things must end. Especially when you’re suffering from bad health…

The book starts with the defrosting of the cat, the warming of our hearts. It ends with a Kleenex box of tears and to look in the rearview mirror of what small-town America used to be.

Dewey the library cat is an absolute must as a Christmas gift. It’s the perfect book for animal offers, a thoughtful gift for readers. It’s worth every word, every read, every time: this is one book you’ll want to read again.

What is the most popular christmas gift this year?

If you’re wondering what to buy for your adulterer son this year, worry no more. You can always go with what is certain to be a big hit.

The US national retail Federation has released a list listing the most wished for Christmas gifts of 2008.

For girls the first four places are taken by dolls.

At number one there’s the evergreen yet ever popular Barbie, closely followed at number two by Hannah Montana.

Dolls in general take-up third-place with the Bratz dolls in particular on four.

For boys the list looks like video games followed by Lego, cars, and transformers.

Popular with both boys and girls is the Nintendo Wii.

And popular with parents this year? The expected hefty discounts at most toy stores, says the national retail Federation.

Novelty Christmas Gifts on the Cheap

A “serious problem” with Christmas gifts is that even we have it all or we’ve seen it all.

Did really nice unique gift that you both for uncle Harry? Forget it, he saw it at Wal-Mart. He knows the full price and he knows when it came on discount…

The problem is even worse in small or smaller towns: everybody knows every store. In such a place even the specialty items are common goods.

Of course there is always making your own gifts. And yes, I recognize that there too a certain level of cliché arises. But there might be a twist, that might be different angle on this. The combination of novelty Christmas gift and do it yourself.

The idea is to go to thrift stores, Goodwill centers, secondhand stores. Look around for genuine articles. You want to go for that think it’s look and feel. With a little bit of luck they’ll even have Christmas items! But if not, no problem either. A wonderful, aged frame, for example, is just as good. Again, it’s that authentic look that you want to go for.

Now when you come home with it here is where you add your own personal touch. Load up that digital photo of uncle Harry, age it, of course using free tools such as Picasa (available as a free download in Google’s pack), insert it in the frame and add a handwritten message.

Now this novelty Christmas gift focuses on a frame. That so many think this items can be repurposed as novelty Christmas gifts. Christmas time is the perfect time to give those Dickian feeling vintage items.

Come on, try it! Get into one of those stores and look around with different eyes.