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Find a few 'gift gurus' online

December 8, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
What shoppers decide to buy this holiday season may be more important than ever, since 35 percent of them say they will be spending less.Consumer Specialist Ric Romero has advice from a new group of shopping gurus that take the guesswork out of gifts.

When it comes to shopping there's always that one person on your list who is nearly impossible to shop for. Add a crazy schedule to an impossible list, and the holidays can turn into a headache.

Author Liz Maverick is writing a book and is getting consumed as her deadline approaches.

"The last thing that's on your mind is pretty much handling those things like holiday gift buying," said Maverick.

Maverick was asked to try something a little different this year. She checked out new personalized shopping Web sites that promise to help her pick out the perfect personalized present. One of the sites was FindGift.com.

"They're organized by occasion, by recipient and a lot of times a sentiment," said Bob Zakrzewski, FindGift.com.

In addition to price, Maverick was able to plug in specifics like gender, relationship and age; even interests and hobbies in some cases. These sites suggest up to hundreds of gift ideas and show shoppers exactly where to buy them online. Maverick tried five sites to find gifts for the people on her list. Her list included a brother who has everything, a fashionista from New York City and a friend who spends most of his time on a block of ice.

"What do you get for the guy who lives in Antarctica?" said Maverick.

"E-tailing" expert Lauren Freedman said the sites vary in level of expertise and assortment.

"They really have to be up on the trends and things that are happening and then they have to have the merchants to back whatever those categories are," said Freedman.

Maverick found that all of the sites offered her dozens of choices, although she thought sometimes a couple were too generic.

"But then I came across some sites that really were able to sort of personalize down and find gifts for people that I thought they would really like," said Maverick.

On giftgirl.com - Maverick's favorite - she found a Parisian tote for her city friend. On FindGift.com - she thought the air combat experience for her brother was cool. For the ice-loving guy, Maverick found the "Planet Earth" DVD set from gifts.com.

"They were able to pinpoint things that I really like and that I thought my friends and family would really like," said Maverick.

All of these sites are free to use and some even offer extra features such as budget calculators and e-mail reminders about upcoming occasions. So, you'll never miss your anniversary again.


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