Bargain hunter’s holiday
by Jennifer Cohron
Dec 11, 2010 | 2526 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Some people need weeks to prepare for Christmas and the rest of the year to pay for it.

About 13.6 million Americans still have leftover holiday debt from last year, according to a new Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll.

Another Consumer Reports poll revealed that the average shopper spent over $800 for Christmas gifts in 2009. Those who used credit cards spent almost $900.

However, the aftereffects of the recession are causing many people to makes some cuts on their holiday shopping list.

Approximately 90 percent of respondents in an online poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling said they would spend less or nothing at all on holiday purchases this year.

Local bargain hunters can find gifts for every family member at several area stores.

For him

Quality Collectibles has items that sports fans and gamers want to find under their Christmas tree this year.

For University of Alabama football fans, the store has autographed magnets and 8 x 10 photographs of Mark Ingram and Terrence Cody.

The shop’s baseball collection includes a number of rookie cards for future Hall of Famers and signed memorabilia, such as a ball autographed by former Atlanta Brave Andruw Jones.

Quality Collectibles sells items for the Magic: The Gathering card game, DVDs and vintage coins as well as comic books. Some of the comics are signed and others are priced for $1.

Store co-owner Misty Lee said customers also enjoy buying the video games of their youth, like the original Nintendo.

Some of the games sell for as low as $2. The store also carries discounted games for new systems.

“We’ve got a larger selection than most other gaming stores. Here, you can go back to Atari or as new as Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3,” Lee said.

For her

Women who want to begin the new year by being pampered may appreciate a gift certificate from Rastore Spa in Jasper, which offers facials, waxing, massages and other body treatments

Rastore Spa in Jasper is running a special through Dec. 24 that offers a savings of $35. Customers who buy two gift certificates get a 30-minute gift certificate for free.

Victoria’s Gift Shop carries the latest styles in women’s clothing and jewelry. One new fad is a scarf and pendant set, which comes in several colors.

Alabama fans will appreciate the boutique’s large houndstooth collection. The black and white print can be found on ear muffs, coats, scarves, titanium jewelry, tote bags and even rain boots.

Auburn fans may want a blue bead necklace with an orange rhinestone paw or the new Iron Bowl T-shirt that bears the slogan “Keep your chin up Bama; there’s always last year!”

For the kids

Andrew Posey & Son Hardware has some adults-only items, like Blue Willow ceramics, cast-iron cookware and all the equipment one might need to make homemade wine and other brews.

However, the store also carries several old-fashioned games for kids to enjoy, from jacks and marbles to spinning tops, yo-yos, pop guns and pick up sticks.

Store owner Randy Posey said that Radio Flyer tricycles, wagons and wheelbarrows are also popular.

“Everybody wants to have a little red wagon,” Posey said.

For the good of others

The American Red Cross has an online holiday giving catalog for gifts that aren’t usually found in Santa’s toy bag.

A tax-deductible contribution of $18 will provide three blankets to a family receiving shelter through the Red Cross. A donation of $20 buys hot meals for two people or one phone card for a deployed service member.

Those who wish to spend more can pay $50 to provide a military comfort kit for one soldier, $100 to vaccinate 100 children for measles, or $200 for one day of food and shelter for a family whose house has burned.

Each catalog purchase comes with free holiday greeting cards so that contributors can let family and friends know about the gift they have made in their honor.

The National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) also has an online store through Cafe Press that features Peace Corps-themed merchandise such as T-shirts, coffee mugs, bumper stickers and a commemorative Christmas ornament.

Proceeds support NPCA, the nation's largest nonprofit organization supporting Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and the Peace Corps community.