Tidings of great joy for harried shoppers: Thanks to some excellent websites, you can buy gifts for family and friends far from the madding holiday crowds. For the movie lover on your list, focus on Reel (www.reel.com), where thrifty gifters can snap up used videos for under $5. Note that at EMusic (www.emusic.com) you can stock up on holiday tunes (like the Klezmer Conservatory Band’s Oy Chanukah!) and order albums from categories as diverse as Hawaiian, techno, and opera — plus you’ll get a $2 holiday discount. Book favorites abound at alt.bookstore (www.alt bookstore.com), where bargain hunters can spend a little (on used books) or even nothing at all (to download and print classics now in the public domain). For those with children, Toys.com (www.toys.com) charts the availability of the season’s hottest playthings and lists cool stocking stuffers for under $10. Still stumped? Try the Perfect Present Picker (www.presentpicker.com); after you describe the recipient (including his/her age, profession, personality, etc.), a list of gift suggestions pops up with prices, pictures, and contact info. Beat that, Santa.
Posted December 5 1997 — 12:00 AM EST
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