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Consumer Reports' ShopSmart lists websites to find cheap gifts

Even Scrooge would have to smile at these fun but inexpensive ideas

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 12:01 am

Holiday shoppers can find the perfect gift for almost everyone on their list for $25 or less. ShopSmart, the shopping magazine from the publisher of Consumer Reports, recently highlighted great websites that offer everything from silly stocking stuffers to socially responsible gift items.

“There's an endless selection of unique and inexpensive holiday gifts online,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. “ShopSmart has identified 25 sites that can help shoppers avoid the aggravation of in-store shopping while nabbing great deals.”

The report also features nine great sites for presents under $50, five that offer do-good gifts and six sites and apps that can help last-minute shoppers get gifts in an instant. Each of these sites meets ShopSmart's requirements for privacy, contact info disclosure and service, and while some don't offer free shipping, the gifts themselves are a great value.

Here are some fun sites that ShopSmart recommends:

•OldTimeCandy.com has a variety of retro candy including Bottle Caps, Pixy Stix and Razzles — perfect gift ideas for friends and family members with a sweet tooth. The site offers age-targeted kits, such as a 2-pound 1970s box for $24, or shoppers can create their own customized collection. Shipping starts at $7; orders must be placed by Dec. 16 for guaranteed delivery by Christmas.

•Pier1.com is the online dwelling of home furnishings retailer Pier 1 Imports. Their new website features many well-priced goodies including Indian-crafted brass candle snuffers starting at $8. Shipping starts at $4.95; orders must be placed by Dec. 16 for guaranteed delivery by Christmas.

•SetBoutique.com features clothing, jewelry, bags and housewares from socially responsible manufacturers. The site will donate $5 to a charity of shoppers' choice when they spend $20 or more. Shipping starts at $5.10; orders must be placed by Dec. 20 for guaranteed delivery by Christmas.

•Vat19.com is a site where tongue meets cheek. Shoppers can pick up unique items, including a half-pound of gummy bears on a stick starting at $9.99 or a USB-powered beverage warmer/cooler for $16.99. Flat-rate shipping is $4.99; orders must be placed by Dec. 17 for guaranteed delivery by Christmas.

•Wag.com has pet-related gifts covered. Shoppers can select items such as a doggie tuxedo, $19.95, or a carrot-shaped rabbit toy, $3.39. Shipping starts at $4.99 and is free for orders of $49 or more; orders must be placed by Dec. 19 for guaranteed delivery by Christmas.

•MarblesTheBrainStore.com lets you give the gift of intelligence. Each game sold here is meant to increase brainpower, including solitaire chess ($19.99) and the Modern Art Puzzle Blox ($29.99). Shipping is free; orders must be placed by Dec. 17 for guaranteed delivery by Christmas.

•WorldMarket.com offers gifts such as carved picture frames and a six-pack of bud vases. There's an elegant, home-brightening present here for every sensibility. Shipping starts at $4.95; orders must be placed by Dec. 13 for guaranteed delivery by Christmas.

•SiteNYC.com, an outpost of the Queens, N.Y., boutique, is home to unexpected gifts that pop with personality. Shipping starts at $8.95; orders must be placed by Dec. 17 for guaranteed delivery by Christmas.

•AbesMarket.com has loads of natural products — including organic soaps, home-spa kits and upcycled e-reader sleeves — for the crunchy granola types in your life. Shipping is free through the end of the year; orders must be placed by Dec. 20 for guaranteed delivery by Christmas.