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Holiday Gifts That Don't Fit the Mold

As part of our gifts series, "Early Holiday Unwrapped," Regina Lewis, an AOL consumer advisor, shared some unique holiday gifts and offers.

Holiday Gift Guide

TECHNOLOGY
Amazon.com
**Last day for Standard Shipping is December 20th.

Lewis: "We all know Amazon.com as the huge online retailer that sells just about anything and everything. They are big and they have BIG buying power. That gives them the ability to offer customers online exclusives -- things you can only find on Amazon.com -- at low, low prices."

Amazon Kindle ($259.99)
Kindle is the most wished for, the most gifted, and the No. 1 bestselling product across the millions of items sold on Amazon. Kindle is Amazon.com's wireless reading device that allows you to download books, magazines, newspapers and personal documents to a crisp, high-resolution electronic ink display that looks and reads like real paper. Kindle uses the same 3G wireless technology as advanced cell phones, so users never need to hunt for a Wi-Fi hotspot.

ASUS Thin and Light 13.3-Inch Laptop ($649.99)
Fully-loaded laptop with HD high definition display. Up to 12 hours of battery life from 8-cell battery, 500 GB SATA hard drive, 4 GB of installed DDR3 RAM. Windows 7 Home Premium. Great for music, digital photography, watching videos, etc.

THE TRADITIONAL HOLIDAY PURCHASES
Shop St. Jude
**Ordering deadline is December 18th.

Lewis: "There's a way to shop online for a lot of things you traditionally buy during this time of year and also give charitably at the same time. Each year during the holidays St. Jude's launches its online holiday Hope Gift Book. When you buy items from the St. Jude's gift book, online at shop.st.jude.org, 100 percent of the profits, after related expenses, benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Available from the site -- a lot of holiday mainstays like beautiful ornaments - some decorated with artwork by St. Jude patients - as well as traditional gifts like assorted cookie tins -- each filled with 6 oz. of cookies in a variety of flavors. If you're looking for gifts along these lines anyway, why not go this route. It really says a lot about the person doing the giving.

Various holiday ornaments - start at $5.00 each -- Some decorated with artwork by St. Jude patients.

Various cookies tins - $11.99 each - Santa, reindeer, dove - patient art decorated tins - each filled with 6 oz of cookies. Choose from key lime (Santa), chocolate mint (reindeer) or doves (scotch oatmeal).

PERSONALIZED GIFTS
LillianVernon.com
**Ordering deadline for personalized gifts is December 19th at 11 am EST; non-personalized - Dec. 20th.

Lewis: "Lillian Vernon, if you're not familiar with the site or the catalogue, has a huge selection of personalized items, home décor, children's décor, toys and other gifts. They actually offer 15 different types of personalized products -- some embroidered, some engraved, others are custom-etching. All personalizing is free. If you're looking for a personalized gift, they're tough to beat and their prices are great."

**Ordering personalized or monogrammed items online tends to be more accurate -- you're typing in the letters versus giving your order to someone over the telephone.

School days picture hanger $15.00
Showcases seven 2 1/2 x 3 1/2" photos in slots from kindergarten to fifth grade! Includes dowel rod and hang cord. Overall size is 14 1/2 x 25", made of 600-denier polyester with PVC backing, clear PVC sleeves to protect photos. Wipes clean with a damp cloth. Customized message up to 14 letters/spaces per line, up to 2 lines.

Holiday hearth customized art $30.00
Features family names (up to 6) on traditional stockings. 20x16" illustration. Art is museum-mounted canvas on acid-free foam core board and includes a golden-toned frame. Specify up to 8 letters/spaces per named stocking, up to six stockings.

NOSTALGIC
Back to Basics Toys.com
**Ordering deadlines for standard shipping begin December 16.

Lewis: "Back to Basics Toys, owned by Scholastic, offers quality made, classic and hard-to-find toys that you won't find walking into your average toy store. The toys they sell give you that nostalgic feeling -- they are a lot of the toys we grew up with when we were kids."

Raggedy Ann and Andy Box Set $44.99 -- they have been around since 1920.

Lincoln Logs - $42.99 -- first designed in 1916 (this 100-piece commemorative edition celebrates the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth).

No Spoiler Shipping Policy:
A nice about Back to Basics Toys shipping policy - most items will arrive in unmarked boxes (a deliberate decision) so not to ruin any surprises at the door. Some of the larger items (i.e. a kitchen set or bike) come in a shippable box that might have the name of the toy/or image on the box. The customer is made aware of this before purchasing online or via phone. And most items are available for gift wrap and gift message for a $5 flat fee.

THE HARD TO FIND
Vermont Country Store.com
**Order deadline for standard shipping is Wednesday, December 16th, noon ET.

Lewis: "The Vermont Country Store is a family run business. The store opened over 60 years ago in Weston, Vt. You can find the store online at VermontCountryStore.com. It's a truly unique site/store/ They go to great lengths to find and sell products that aren't sold anywhere else. A lot of things they sell you'd swear they didn't make them anymore."

Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific Shampoo and Conditioner 12 oz. bottles - $14.95
Lewis: "You might remember this from the 1970's -- get this as a stocking stuffer for mom or dad and they will wonder where you got it. It's hard to believe they still make it."

Evening in Paris-"The Most Famous Fragrance in the World" - $50.00
Lewis: "From the daring decade of the 1920s -- think glittering nightlife, flapper fashion, the heady perfume of luxury-came the fragrance Soir de Paris, or Evening in Paris as we knew it here. By the 1950s, it was touted as "the fragrance more women wear than any other in the world," yet by 1969 it had disappeared. Your many letters of request sent us searching, and we're proud now to offer this classic. The fragrance was brought back five years ago -- hadn't been made since 1969."

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