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Colbert Continues to Fight War on Christmas Off Season

Colbert Continues to Fight War on Christmas Off Season

We’ve got to hand it to Stephen Colbert whose Cinco de Mayo show (about 3o seconds into the show) kept up the pressure on the war on Christmas. You may recall this war from “A Colbert Christmas” show last November.  Here’s a classic clip with Toby Keith.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
A Colbert Christmas: Preview – Toby Keith
colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Gay Marriage
Elfster Survey Results and Winner

Elfster Survey Results and Winner

If you’re reading this post, there’s a good chance you got a message from us last month asking you to take our user survey.  We were really amazed at how many of you took the time to complete the survey and are greatly appreciative that you did so.

The survey helps us know if we are making you happy!  After all, if we aren’t doing that, then what the heck are we doing here?  You also gave us some great insight into the future Elfster that you would like to see.  And we learned some good lessons on what we can do better.

Well now we’d like to share with you some fun facts from the survey!

  • 73% said you participate in gift exchanges at Elfster because they’re just plain FUN.
  • 9 in 10 of said you would *definitely* recommend Elfster to a friend.
  • 82% said that you LOVED your gift! 
  • 3.6% said you did not love your gift.  Doh!  Now I know we can do better next time, come on everybody :)

I know there is probably something else you are wondering about.  The iPod Touch!  Everyone that completed the survey was entered into a drawing for a chance to win an iPod touch.  With the help of the internet random number generator, we picked a winner!  I am happy to announce that our lucky winner was David Ten Brink of Holland, Michigan. 

Congratulations David and a big Elfster THANK YOU to all who took a little time to help shape the future of Elfster!

 

GameStop Holiday Video Game Q&A

GameStop Holiday Video Game Q&A

 

If you have kids that love video games, you’ve surely got a lot of questions as we approach the holidays.  Today we had a chance to catch up with Betty Shock.  She is Regional Vice President at GameStop, and we asked her some questions that are probably on your mind.  Many thanks to Betty for taking the time to lend us her expert opinion and make our last minute game shopping a bit easier!

What will be most popular this holiday?  What games will be the hardest to find?

We continue to see a great deal of interest in the Nintendo Wii this holiday season. While these are still available at GameStop stores nationwide, we encourage people who are interested in the Wii should not wait as it continues to be in demand and hard to find. We’re also seeing a great deal of interest in Nintendo’s Wii Fit as the concept of “gamercising” – or exercising using video games – gains traction, which often makes the Wii Fit hard to come by.

Other popular games this holiday season in the traditional video game category include Gears of War 2, Call of Duty: World at War, Fable 2 and World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. And sports games such as Madden NFL ’09 and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 All-Play remain hot.

– Families will be looking for ways to save this holiday. What promotions, if any, will GameStop offer their customers?

Everyone is looking to save this season and GameStop definitely has a number of value options available. To start, GameStop has a wide selection of new and used games – and this holiday season has more than 2,500 titles under $20.00! These titles include some of the hottest new releases and accessories designed to fit even the smallest of budgets.

– What is the right age for kids to be introduced to gaming and what are kid friendly titles that might be educational?

Interest in video games can start at a very early age. In fact, more than 90 percent of the games in stores today are rated appropriate for ages 13 and under.

While we encourage parents to decide what is best for their own families, there are a wide range of games that cater to the younger demographic that provide educational value as well as enjoyment for the player. Games including the Brain Quest series, which specialize in an age-appropriate curriculum-based activities, and Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree encourage and inspire younger children to enjoy learning with fun number games and word puzzles.

 

– What are the biggest trends this season? Are their any games that get the entire family involved?

This season we’ve seen tremendous growth in the casual gaming arena. The traditional genres such as racing, sports, and shooters are still popular however; new categories for the casual gamer have emerged including music, fitness, cooking and puzzles.

The hot video games in these categories include: Music games such as Guitar Hero: World Tour, Rock Band 2 and Wii Music; sports titles such as Tiger Woods All-Play 09 and Madden NFL 09; cooking games such as Cooking Mama: World Kitchen and Iron Chef America: Supreme Cuisine; and puzzle games like Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree and Brain Quest.

To help make shopping for these new game genres easier for gift givers, GameStop has also created an online holiday gift guide and a “hint generator” to help ensure everyone gets the games they want. Test it out for yourself at www.hintorelse.com.

 
– What types of games seem to interest kids these days (e.g. action, sports, music, role playing)?

According to the Entertainment Software Association, 85 percent of all games sold in the U.S. last year were rated E for Everyone, E 10+ or T for teen, giving kids today a great deal to choose from!

Social games like Guitar Hero: World Tour, Rock Band 2, Mario Kart and DanceDance Revolution that the entire family can enjoy together are especiallysought after. These games encourage multiplayer involvement, making it especially attractive for large groups.

The newly released DeBlob, Spore and Little Big Planet are creative and interactive, and are fast becoming family favorites. Of course, traditional sports games continue to attract interest from all ages, thanks to popular series like Madden NFL and Tiger Woods Golf.


– How do you follow the ESRB rating system and how can it help our readers ensure the age-appropriateness of their gifts?

Located on the front of every box is a rating symbol – assigned by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), an independent regulatory body – to help parents and individuals determine the maturity of the content. There are six ESRB rating categories in all, including: C, Early Childhood; E, Everyone; E10+, Everyone 10+; T, Teens; M, Mature; and AO, Adults Only. These symbols, similar to those used by the motion picture industry to rate films, allow adults to make informed decisions about what’s appropriate for the child on their list.

Following the ESRB rating system is actually very simple and easy to use: Check the ESRB age ratings that appear on the front of every game package, and the content descriptors that appear on the back. You can use both parts of the rating system to select the most appropriate game for the child on your list.

Additionally, all GameStop employees enforce the Company’s policy to restrict sales of games rated M, for Mature by the ESRB. GameStop does NOT sell, reserve, or offer Mature-rated games to customers under 17 years of age. When a Mature game is scanned, an ESRB advisory appears on the register screen requiring employees to ask any under-age customer for a valid photo ID, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

If you’re looking for ratings information or to learn more about video games both the Respect the Ratings (www.respecttheratings.com) and ESRB (www.esrb.org) sites provide a wealth of information and ratings summaries for every rated video game on the market.

 

 

Day 12 Winners!

Day 12 Winners!

It’s time for 12 Days of Christmas winners! Today we announce winners for last day, the 12th day of Christmas!

Day 12 we picked for you these unique gifts:

  • [me] & goji custom artisanal cereal
  • Buddha Board
  • Chalmers Ganache Taste Trio
  • Dysfunctional Father’s Guide to Pregnancy, Birth and Babies
  • Four Blooms Body Lotion
  • Gustafer Yellowgold’s Have You Never Been Yellow?
  • Kooky Klickers Pens
  • Kushies Zolo Boa Stacrobats Children’s Toy
  • Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health
  • Sprig Toys Rally Racer
  • Things Remembered Winter Candles
  • Welcome To Monster Isle Children’s Book

And we randomly picked lucky Elves to receive these fine gifts (in no particular order):

  • Izzie
  • Justen
  • David McCormick
  • Lia Casson
  • Angela Spry
  • Michelle Pop
  • Mary Diehl
  • Werner Morgenstern
  • Mary Balmert
  • Brandy Arnold
  • Linda
  • Erica Krueger

Note to the winners: you will not know which gift you are receiving until you unwrap it at home. Congratulations, lucky Elves, and enjoy the anticipation of your gift!

We hope you’ve had fun with our 12 Days of Christmas. Happy Gifting and may this mark just the beginning of your great Christmas stories for 2008!

 

Memories Under the Tree

Memories Under the Tree

This is a story by Elfster contributing writer Mary Ann Romans.

—————

My fondest Christmas memories took place under the tree in a small apartment in New York. Oh it wasn’t the presents I was after, but that magical space that was laid out on the tree skirt. There under a canopy of colored lights reflecting off of the polyvinyl needles was an incredible world filled with all of the glitter of the imagined North Pole.

You see, we didn’t just decorate the tree, but we decorated underneath it as well. There was the handmade wooden church made by a family friend for my parent’s wedding. It glistened with clear glitter and played a soft wedding march when you wound the key. Next was the trio of fuzzy-haired angels climbing a cardboard ladder. It must have cost all of 25 cents at the five and dime store in Brooklyn, but it was far more treasured that any hand blown glass ornament could ever be today.

The small nativity set was then laid out under the tree. It was made of rough wood and spanish moss with ceramic painted figures that spent their holiday time engaging me over and over again. A makeshift doll house of sorts, I played with it often, re-enacting the Christmas story, sometimes with the blasphemy of making the animals form a parade and the three kings do a jig to entertain the Christ child.

Red felted reindeer that lost their hooks were perfectly fine balanced under the tree amongst the cotton paper of the tree skirt that resembled snow. They would often give bareback rides to a giant plastic Santa who I imagined grew so large because he ate all of the broken candy canes that had fallen off of the tree, crackling to the floor below.

As the Perry Como or Dean Martin or Bing Crosby records played, I thought that if I stared hard enough at the colored lights and let my eyes become unfocused that I might be transported to somewhere else, some Christmas town where there was a blanket of soft snow, where there were woods filled with trees and lighted houses filled with warmth. There would be the smell of pine and gingerbread, two smells I could imagine but up to that point had never experienced. Inevitably, I would always stop staring too soon and run off to make paper snowflakes or be sent to tell the superintendent that my mother needed hot water for the dishes.

These days, it is often hard to slow down and appreciate that magical portal a Christmas tree might become in a child’s imagination. Living now in a house surrounded by woods, there are always broken lights to find, boxes of decorations to take down from the attic, and my own kids to pull out from under the tree lest they knock the whole thing over.

But every once in a while I remember. And perhaps this year, when everyone is asleep, I’ll sneak out of bed and down to our family room and see if I can catch a stray reflection of those long ago memories under the tree.

——————

 

Mary Ann is a freelance writer and mother of three children. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, the kids and a 16-pound cat.

12 Days of Christmas Day 11 Winners

12 Days of Christmas Day 11 Winners

It’s time for 12 Days of Christmas winners! Today we announce winners for the 11th day of Christmas!

Here are our picks for Day 11:

  • BuddhiWear Tank Top & T-Shirt
  • Create My Cookbook Gift Certificate
  • Fretlight Acoustic Guitar
  • Gifts For Animals Support & Get a Gift
  • Hand Knit Baby Sweater
  • Harmonious Environment Book
  • Link Spherical SPP Polarized Goggles
  • Playing the Field Dating Game
  • V-Moda Headphones
  • What’s a Dame to Do Game
  • Work-Life Balance Bracelet for Women
  • Zip-n-go Blanket

And we randomly picked lucky Elves to receive these fine gifts (in no particular order):

  • Loralynn Maresh
  • Allie Scannell
  • Lauren Crewalk
  • dtruck1991
  • Claudine Edwards
  • Jakeline & Tiffany Lumucso
  • Carrie Kletke
  • Stacy Sharrer
  • Nikita
  • Melian Johnson (mjwebhome)
  • Jennifer Corbin
  • Kaelynn

Note to the winners: you will not know which gift you are receiving until you unwrap it at home. Congratulations, lucky Elves, and enjoy the anticipation of your gift!

Today is our 12th and last day of Christmas and we are featuring more gift ideas hand picked by our very own promotion Elf, Rita.

Here is a sneak peak at some of the gifts we are featuring today on Day 12 of Christmas:

  • Sprig Toys Rally Racer
  • Gustafer Yellowgold’s Have You Never Been Yellow?
  • Chalmers Ganache Taste Trio
  • [me] & goji custom artisanal cereal
  • Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health
  • Buddha Board
  • Kushies Zolo Boa Stacrobats Children’s Toy
  • Dysfunctional Father’s Guide to Pregnancy, Birth
  • Four Blooms Body Lotion
  • Welcome To Monster Isle Children’s Book
  • Things Remembered Winter Candles
  • Kooky Klickers Pens

Check out all of our selections for today and pick what you’d like to win. Happy Gifting!

 

12 Days of Christmas, Day 10 Winners

12 Days of Christmas, Day 10 Winners

It’s time for 12 Days of Christmas winners! Today we announce winners for the 10th day of Christmas!

Here are our picks for Day 10:

  • Fundamentally Dogs Holiday Cards and T Shirt
  • India Gift Experience
  • JellyBean Row Victorian House Images
  • Kajeet Cell Phone for Kids
  • Kids Grocery Cart Tray
  • Psyclops iPod Cover
  • Sharp Hill Designs Tote
  • SPER Weighted Exercise Gloves
  • The Little Black Apron – Cooking Guide for Single
  • VHS to DVD Converter

And we randomly picked lucky Elves to receive these fine gifts (in no particular order):

  • Dan Block
  • Paula
  • Cheryl Russell
  • Dana Marlowe
  • Viviana Gonzalez
  • Razel Abellanosa
  • karren
  • Lakisha Johnson
  • Ginny Grandinetti
  • Tanuja Kulkarni

Note to the winners: you will not know which gift you are receiving until you unwrap it at home. Congratulations, lucky Elves, and enjoy the anticipation of your gift!

Today is our 11th day of Christmas and we are featuring more gift ideas hand picked by our very own promotion Elf, Rita.

Here is a sneak peak at some of the gifts we are featuring today:

  • Fretlight Acoustic Guitar
  • Work-Life Balance Bracelet for Women
  • Create My Cookbook Gift Certificate
  • Zip-n-go Blanket
  • Hand Knit Baby Sweater
  • BuddhiWear Tank Top & T-Shirt
  • Link Spherical SPP Polarized Goggles
  • What’s a Dame to Do Game
  • Harmonious Environment Book
  • Playing the Field Dating Game
  • V-Moda Headphones
  • and more!!

Check out all of our selections for today and pick what you’d like to win. Happy Gifting!

 

Shanan picks: baseball books!

Shanan picks: baseball books!

Here are some gift picks for a baseball fan by Shanan Delp.  Shanan is a friend of Elfster and a car and baseball nut.

College football season is over, and I’m not much of an indoor spectator sports guy, so I am looking ahead to next year, and baseball books. I am a pushover for baseball books baseball. He chose to focus his razor sharp journalistic skills on sports in between his heavier volumes. Rather than look at individuals, Halberstam looks at moments in time (the Summer of ’49) and matchups of teams (October 1964 ) to tell epic societal tales via the baseball diamond.

And you have the newish Watching Baseball Smarter, Zack Hample’s enthusiastic primer containing everything you’d want to know about the sport (but were afraid to ask).

then there’s Moneyball, Michael Lewis’ profile of baseball‘s new statistic-minded braintrusts, notably focused on Oakland’s Billy Beane.

Last but not least, there is Game of Shadows of Shadows, which apparently tells of the talented but fatally-flawed Barry Bond decision to turn from a hall of famer to a pariah.

What else is there? This list alone will not get me through to spring training.