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Xpress 2004 Gift Guide

Hey, Mom! Hey, Dad! Look here!

Okay, so you don't feel like talking to your folks, but Christmas is just around the corner and they need to know what you really, really want. Just cut out this article, circle the things you like and have a happy holiday.

By SHARON GINN
Published December 6, 2004


Gift guide PDF
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Not sure what to ask Santa to bring you for Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa)? Xpress nosed around the catalogs and toy stores, scouted the Internet and the bestseller lists, and came up with some cool gifts that are worth being nice all year for.

Warning: Some are expensive. Okay, very expensive. And some are getting hard to find. But they are fun, and popular, and sure to bring a smile on that special holiday morning. We're including an approximate retail price, but don't worry. Santa and his elves usually find the best sales and prices, or they make it themselves.

IPOD MINI:

The ultimate gift. Tote up to 1,000 songs in a tiny, probably easy-to-lose package. (Buy it in a bright color like pink, blue or green so it's also easier to find.) About $250. You have one? Ask for an iTunes.com gift card for more music.

DIGITAL CAMERA:

The ultimate gift for those who already have an iPod. Try out the Canon 3.2 megapixel PowerShot A75 (about $190), the Pentax Optio 30 3.2MP with zoom (about $180), or the Olympus Camedia 3.2 MP D-540 with zoom (about $180).

HALO 2:

It's the hottest game of the season; critics call it one of the best ever (for Xbox systems, $49.99). Other big sellers, also sequels, include Half-Life 2 (for PCs, about $50) and Metal Gear Solid 3 (for PlayStation 2, about $50).

REMOTE CONTROL TOYS:

These are bigger - and more creative - than ever. Younger tweens will enjoy the Robosapien remote control robot. He can walk, dance and throw things, or be programmed to do dozens of other action sequences (about $90). Slightly older kids might like the Air Hogs RC Skywinder, a radio-controlled airplane that looks a bit like the Stealth Bomber and reaches heights of up to 100 feet (about $60).

FISHER-PRICE ESPN GAME STATION:

This will take up a big chunk of anybody's room, but it's more fun than a bulky foosball table, and it folds for storage. Hone skills in six sports (football, golf, baseball, hockey, basketball, soccer) while being spurred on by music and voice-overs from ESPN personality Stuart Scott. All ages; about $170.

PLUG-N-PLAY TV GAMES:

These are great gifts, especially if you don't have an expensive game system. They are inexpensive and plug right into your television. Two to try: Lord of the Rings: Warrior of Middle Earth (about $70) and the Namco II 5-in-1 TV Games, which includes Ms. Pac Man, Galaga and other big 1980s games (about $18). Warning: an adapter may be needed for your TV.

LUSH BODY CARE:

Fresh, handmade, available only online, but a big hit with teen girls. Ask Santa to take a peek at www.lush.com for bath treats, fragrances, and hair and skin care. One to try: the Fantastic Four bath set $20.95 plus shipping with four sweet-smelling "bath bombs."

MOON SHOES:

Fun for tweens and anyone who likes to jump around - a lot. Billed as minitrampolines for your feet, they cost about $35 - though it pays to shop around - and come in purple or black. Fits up to size 9 men's; 180-pound weight limit.

RAZOR SCOOTERS:

If you've seen (and heard) kids zipping up and down your street on these, you know they're still popular. One of the latest versions is the E200 S, about $200. It comes in red and has a seat. Read safety warnings before buying. Manufacturer says it's for ages 12 and up.

PRETTY SHEEPSKIN BOOTS:

Why, Santa might ask, would you want these in Florida. It's 80 degrees! But they're cute and look great with your poncho. Just go with it. Fleece-lined boots in pastel colors from labels like Ugg and Merrell are - no pun intended - hot. About $100 and up, but less-popular labels are a little less expensive. If you think Santa will be extra generous, ask for an Ugg bag.

GIFT CARDS:

Santa could slip a gift card in a tiny box or a stocking. Great choices: Target, Old Navy, American Eagle, Urban Outfitters, abercrombie, Abercrombie and Fitch, Express, Hollister Co., Toys R Us, Blockbuster, Barnes & Noble.

MONEY:

All ages. All sizes. Always welcome.

- X-Team members Austin Arias, Sarah Collins, Anna Costello, Rohini Komarla, Taylor Pashley, Travis Radke and Sarah Wilkerson helped to compile this list.

FANTASY GIFTS

These aren't for everybody, but they might be fun to think about. Tell Santa to take a look at FAO Schwarz:

BUBBLE HOCKEY GAME:

It's the only NHL-licensed bubble game, with hand-painted players, a realistic playing surface and working overhead scoreboard. It can be customized with your two favorite NHL teams, or your favorite and the team you want to beat. It'll take four to six weeks if you customize it for, say, the Lightning and the Flyers. Way cool. Not cheap. $4,295.

BE A FASHION DESIGNER:

The Imagine This Designer Showcase allows you, with the help of a couturier, to create a one-of-a-kind outfit. Draw your own or have it designed for you after extensive consultations. Choose your fabric and colors, and four months later, your dream outfit arrives, complete with your own signature label. $800.

[Last modified December 3, 2004, 09:45:10]


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