Helps Families Save Money on Holiday Shopping Helps Families Save Money on Holiday Shopping Experts Announce 2008 MVPs (Most Valuable Presents)

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In this era of economic uncertainty, Americans are changing the way they shop for the holidays. For the first time, the National Retail Federation’s 2008 annual holiday spending survey noted a decrease in planned holiday spending for family gifts.

Buying gifts for a group and giving gifts from a group are two increasingly logical solutions for spending less. New websites like automate the group gifting process with online gift envelopes that allow organizers to collect money, vote, gather comments and shop.

“Combining funds is one of the best ways to make gift giving money go further,” said Founder Karen O’Neil. “Until now, however, collecting for a group gift was a multi-step manual process of calls, chasing checks, deposits and trips to the store.”

According to retail analyst Ken Dalto of Kenneth J. Dalto & Associates in Farmington Hills, Mich., the degree of “pre-arrangement” this year among consumers deciding what and whom to put on shopping lists is unprecedented. In many cases, he noted, there will be one significant purchase vs. multiple individual gifts. “It’s a phenomenon we’ve never seen before,” Dalton commented.

O’Neil recommends selecting perennial, personalized or practical group gifts this year. FrumUs gift experts have posted “top picks” appropriate for group gift giving, including a selection of MVP gifts that cost less than $40:

For the newlyweds -- Photoworks Photo Tile $15.95

For the coach – Things Remembered Personalized Clipboard/whistle $20

For coworkers/caregivers – Gift Tree Thank You Chocolates $29

For the urban dweller -- Franklin Covey Foldable Tolley $29.95

For the new mom -- Posh Tots Logic Bag $34.95

For grandparents -- Red Envelope Handprint Canvas $39

The Internet will have a tremendous influence on holiday shopping again this year, according the 2008 eHoliday study conducted by Shopzilla for Of note was a 32 percent increase over last year in customers planning to use PayPal to pay for their online purchases (43.4% will use PayPal).

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