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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: December 2, 2010 @ 12:05 am

    And the countdown begins.

    Ciara O'Brien

    I have an aversion to anything to do with Christmas before December is officially here, unless I’m forced. Every year it gets earlier, and this year has been particularly bad. Spotting Christmas merchandise in shops in September nearly finished me off.

    But if you do any of your shopping online, chances are you’re already some way into your Christmas list. If not, here’s some sites that could help your gift hunt.

    People Love Presents

    This could be my new favourite website. It’s not an online store, but more of a portal site. It’s basically a gift guide, offering you a range of gifts for different recipients and occasions. I particularly like the gift wizard, which asks you a few simple questions and makes gift suggestions based on your answers. You can then click through to the website to buy the item directly from the store. It throws up things you’d never even think of, so it’s well worth a try.

    And if you have a bad habit of leaving things to the last minute there’s even a section for gifts you need in a hurry.


    Need a pillow tie? How about a replica bat mobile (if you’ve a spare £120,000)? Firebox is a mine of gadgets – some useful, some useless, and some somewhere in between – toys and games. It’s got everything from cookie cake tins and bungee bird feeders to slankets and twilight umbrellas.

    It’s also got a weird line in sweets, with giant gummibears and Chupa Chup lollies. If anyone is brave enough to try the bacon chocolate, I’d love to know what you thought.

    Ethical Superstore

    Environmentally friendly products, presents and general usefulness. You can shop for ethical gifts, including fair trade bags, clothes and jewellery; vegan gift sets; or eco gadgets, such as a water powered clock or home energy meters.

    Pressie Port

    Irish-based site that sells everything from Mr Men mugs and Gruffalo notebooks to handbag organisers and runaway alarm clocks. The difference? Well apart from the fact that it’s Irish, the site charges a flat rate per order for packages posted to Irish addresses and also allows you to pick up items yourself free of charge from its shop in Dublin city centre or its offices in Parkwest, Dublin 12.