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Internet Makes Holidays A Breeze Online
Readysetholiday.com brings many brands together.
By Theresa Juva
With the advent of the Internet, avoiding swarmed stores and mobbed malls is a new luxury when it comes to making a list, checking it twice and shopping around for the lowest price.
Americans are expected to spend $32 billion online this holiday season, according to a forecast report by JupiterResearch, an 18 percent increase from the year before. The study also showed that with the convenient, ubiquitous presence of the Internet, more than a third of shoppers will procrastinate and shop even after holiday shipping deadlines.
What has also emerged is the phenomenon called Cyber Monday, the Monday following Thanksgiving, when millions of online shoppers and party planners search cyberspace for season essentials.
At www.readysetholiday.com, the brainchild of Sears, K-Mart and Lands End, holiday mania reaches its zenith with a plethora of pages on everything from advice on taking great holiday portraits, to pampering your out-of-town relatives, to “designing a divine dessert.”
Under one category called “Hostess with the Mostess,” Ty Pennington of “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” reminds you to give your guests clean towels—‘cause apparently he thinks most people throw them the dog’s bath rag. But when the site isn’t trying to sell you Pennington’s towel sets, it suggests turning those too-pretty-to-touch table decorations into eating epicenters by filling glass vases with walnuts, berries and popcorn. Flip to “Tips and Tricks for an easier season,” and find all you need to know about turning dinner place cards into “face cards,” making your poinsettias last longer, and keeping the kids in line during long car rides.
In the land of milk, honey and Play Station 3, buying gifts for family and friends who seem to already have everything can feel a little empty. You can change all that at www.oxfamamericaunwrapped.com where you can buy a necessity for someone halfway around the world.
Oxfam can help spread cheer to other countries.
For $20, you can help a farmer in one of Oxfam’s 26 developing countries irrigate his land for two months. For $45, you can buy a sheep, and instead of shipping the fleecy friend to you, it will go to a family or someone who relies on the wool to make sweaters. The Web site explains that the gifts are not always literal items that you buy—like a $75 camel—but the money can go to buy the animal for a family, fund training for camel herders or provide food for the two-toed creature.
Kids don’t have to take ink to paper to write to Santa Clause when there is www.northpole.com where kids can speed their letter to Santa via email. There is a questionnaire where they fill out their name, age, and answer the always important questions about being naughty or nice and chimney accessibility.
After writing a note and their wish list and hitting send, kids can check back in two days for a response from the jolly man. You can also track how many cookies Santa eats on Christmas Eve. A spoof page pokes fun at hi-tech military devices that are used to keep tabs on Santa during his journey around the world and include sophisticated satellites and a secret “Santa Cam,” a sure deterrence to Santa kissing mommy underneath the Christmas tree.