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CNN Today

'Modern Living, Modern Giving' Author Andrea Claster Discusses Last-Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

Aired December 22, 2000 - 1:46 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Most of us know the feeling. Just two full days left between now and Christmas and you haven't bought anything for that aunt or your cousin or your uncle, or all of the above. What do you do now?

Well, we have decided to get some help. As you can see, we have it. We have a guest with us from Miami, Andrea Claster. She's the author of "Modern Living and Modern Giving: Gift Giving for the '90s."

Well, Andrea, it's OK that this is the year 2000. Your gifts still carry through, we hope.

ANDREA CLASTER, AUTHOR, "MODERN LIVING, MODERN GIVING": Good gifts are good gifts. How are you, Natalie?

ALLEN: I'm fine, thank you. And thanks for sending up all of these ideas because this is, I guess, the crunch time. No pun intended with the first gift you sent, the popcorn. But at this point for a lot of people it's not fun anymore, it's frantic. So help us still have fun with it.

CLASTER: Great. Well, my best recommendation is avoid the high fees you're going to encounter if you try to get something there by Saturday delivery. You'll have no choices virtually left. So for gifts that are good for the new year, you can get wonderful gifts under $25, over $25. Perhaps you might want to get something like a candle-to-go. It's a wonderful travel candle set.

I have some other great ideas that I've pulled together from Bravanta.com, which is actually a premiere online gift retailer that has really smart business gifts. And they have this cool one. If you want to get rid of all the holiday festivities, you can get a spa-on- the-spot basket for somebody. Send it for the new year, and it's basically start the new year right and clean.

Another really fun thing they have is a sheet of newly minted dollar bills. You can get 32 of them on a sheet. And that would be a great way to refresh your -- flush your pockets back after you've spent all of your holiday money.

ALLEN: Here's a look at them if anybody wants to see. We have them here.

When I first saw this, Andrea, I'm like, well, that's not real money, that's. I thought it was just wrapping paper.

CLASTER: Oh, it's real.

ALLEN: I would have thrown it away after the segment.

CLASTER: Do what you want.

ALLEN: It's definitely real.

CLASTER: It's real. Another really cool idea is from a company called Broadwayarchive.com. And they've digitized made-for-television adaptations of Broadway dramas, and you can get them on VHS. And they've actually put a little button on their site. You can click on it to get an immediate gift certificate and it e-mails to your recipient.

So some of these sites have gotten geared up for online, last- minute shopping. But online is still a really good option at this time of the year when you're in a crunch, because they can satisfy your gifts, as I mentioned, with some really good New Year gift ideas so you look like you planned ahead. And you can also get some immediate gifts without having to fight the crunch of FedEx, UPS and the mail.

ALLEN: I like the idea of New Year's gifts, especially for, say, your co-workers and all of that, because so many people get wrapped up -- there's another bad pun...

(LAUGHTER)

... with trying to, you know, get all the family gifts together and all of that by Christmas. So I've got movie tickets in my hand. That's always a good idea. I think we're getting them here for a discount where I work.

CLASTER: Yes, well you know...

ALLEN: Go ahead.

CLASTER: We actually have that. It's called A Night at the Movies. And can buy two gift certificates for a movie at AMC theaters. Plus, you get a caramel popcorn and a cheddar cheese popcorn, I believes it is. It's an under-$25 gift at Bravanta.com, and it's a really great way to give what is called an experience gift. And those are really the fun ways to share time in the new year and, again, kind of unwind after the fact of the holidays.

ALLEN: Any ideas for helping us stay out of the malls the last few days, Andrea? Here's a bottle of champagne. You don't have to go to the mall for that. And, of course, you also set up an electronic putting partner. Can't lose with this one -- for a co-worker, of course. Any ideas as far as staying away from all the packs of people?

CLASTER: As a mentioned, I would definitely recommend online at this point in time, create some goodies at home. And think of the new year. Think of starting the new year right. E-mail your messages, e- mail your gifts. And I would definitely recommend online shopping at this point, because they can help you. And you can do a lot of tracking right away in terms of what's in stock and talk with some service representatives and some experts online. That helps a lot when you're in a crunch and a panic. It can also avoid making sort of those impulse buys that you break your budget.

ALLEN: OH, you're talking to the person right here on that one. Already done that. I am putting my credit card in time-out for the rest of the year.

Andrea Claster. Andrea, thanks so much. We appreciate the tips.

CLASTER: Happy shopping, Natalie.

ALLEN: Thank you so much.

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