Lines of people stretched outside of megastores in the predawn darkness of the Friday after Thanksgiving signal the start of the holiday shopping season. These gung-ho customers, armed with sale ads and fueled by coffee, are prepared to wrestle down a football team to get their coveted bargain merchandise. They wait anxiously for televisions, gaming consoles, toys and other loot marked with 5 a.m., rock-bottom prices.
Every year, it seems, some hot, must-have item drives people to malls in droves from Black Friday until Christmas Eve. In the late '90s, Ferbies, Pokémon figures and piles of Beanie Babies drained our wallets. This tech-heavy decade has brought us the battle of competing gaming consoles, such as Playstations and Xboxes. In 2008, if the average holiday shopper is projected to spend more than $800 on gifts, what precious booty will he or she hunt down?
This year's theme for holiday gift-giving is frugality. The economy has sunk to record lows, unemployment has escalated and folks are clutching their dollars a bit tighter. Yet no one wants to play Uncle Scrooge. In a blended spirit of fiscal prudence and seasonal indulgence, here are five holiday gifts you may need to allow extra time -- but not necessarily extra cash -- to buy this year.