Great online selections for all your holiday shopping needs.
Valentine's Day is a time for treating sweethearts and other special loved ones with tokens of your affection. And if you don't have a Valentine this year, there's no better pick-me-up than buying a fabulous gift for yourself. Whether it's chocolate, jewelry or kitchen gadgets that makes you think of romance and pampering, we found someone making and selling it online.
BHG.com does not endorse the sites listed below, nor have we vetted their service capabilities.
1) Harry and David Infinitely more than a fruit-of-the-month club, this site takes gifting seriously. If your sweetheart has a sweet tooth, try the Tower of Hearts, including chocolate-raspberry layer cake, raspberry filled shortbread cookies and bing cherry chocolates, for $39.95.
2) Tavolo Cooks rejoice in the bounteous offerings here, like the Valentine's Hearts Waffle Maker ($69.95). Treat your honey to breakfast in bed with adorable heart-shaped waffles or any of Tavolo's specialty items.
3) Dean and Deluca When it comes to family, nothing but the best will do, and Dean and Deluca delivers the best food and kitchenware. Surf through their Gifts for Sweethearts and Romantic Dinner for Two.
4) Bruno Brothers Known for their meats and seafood, they also carry caviar, salmon, cheese straws and other delectables. Expecting a crowd? Order the filet/lobster combo ($261.95)) and get half-pound filet mignons and eight-ounce lobster tails for 10.
5) Vermont Country Store Here's a real country store, from the penny candy to the flannel nighties. Where else can you find old-fashioned candy and cologne for your loved ones?
6) Figi's Since 1944, the folks at Figi's have brought us baked goods, chocolates, nuts and more. If you know a chocolate-lover, the Fudge Heart Trio ($29.99) makes the perfect gift: three flavors of fudge, each in a different heart-shaped container.
Here's a toast to the dizzying assortment of wines on the Internet. Our favorite sites describe each wine, since it's not always obvious what's "oakey" or "just okay." For the connoisseur, there is an incomparable selection from the most obscure to the most exclusive. Order by the bottle for those intimate family gatherings or by the case for a big bash. (To order from these sites, you must be over 21 and provide proof of age.)
1) Astor Uncorked Great attitude, great style and great selection make this site a blast to navigate. We particularly like their wine and food matchmaker and the Cellar-in-a-Box (from $87.99 to $174.99), an assortment of six to 12 wines that changes monthly.
2) Pop's Wine and Spirits Wine inventory listings are updated daily here. After you've delved into their incredible cellar, come up for air with the Oxford Landing Shiraz ($9.35 per bottle, $105.21 per case), a delightful South Australian wine.
3) Sam's Wine Sam knows his wine, spirits, beer and more. One of the only sites to feature beer, the Two Brothers Prairie Path Ale ($5.99 for a six-pack) adds an authentic American flavor to the holiday meal, as does the Knob Creek Bourbon ($22.79 per bottle).
4) Wally Wine Featuring 5,000 wines, including organic, we can see why Wally's has been L.A.'s premier wine store for 31 years. For a good conversation starter, consider the organic 1997 Caldwell Zinfandel "Aida" ($34.99 per bottle).
5) International Wine Accesories International Wine Accesories lets you add a touch of elegance to the dinner table with a Venetian crystal Contemporary Duck Decanter ($74.95). Whether you are serving Bordeaux, Chardonnay or champagne, you'll always have the proper glass with the Riedel Vinum 8-piece Gourmet Sampler Set ($104.50).
6) Dean and Deluca Stop here for a gourmet selection of California wines, with excellent descriptions of each choice. For the terminally hip, try a trendy Bogle Petite Sirah 1998 ($9.95 per bottle).
7) Internet Wines and Spirits When the spirit moves you, check out this site for wines and the Premium Bar Sampler ($100) with six premium bar basics to entertain every taste.
8) Winehouse The experts at this site reviewed Fouassier Pouilly Fume 1997 ($13.99 per bottle) in the summer; we think it sounds like the perfect light accompaniment to a classic Christmas Eve seafood feast.
9) Wine Though they feature a comprehensive assortment including rare wines, you can also personalize your wine at this site. Send some good cheer with Champagne or a Virtual Vineyards selection. Choices and prices will vary according to destination.
10) A Winestore A quality selection makes choosing a wine a pleasurable adventure. The choosy will enjoy the La Famiglia Mondavi 1997 Colmera ($39), a blend of six Tuscan grapes and limited to one bottle per order.
11) Beer on the Wall Craft brews are the elite of the beer world and this site features the cream of the crop from California. Hops fanciers will appreciate the Big Fat six-pack ($17.95) of 22-ounce bottles of rare beers.
We found something inspirational for every heartthrob. It doesn't take a major financial commitment to show your love, just great taste and a little appreciation for the finer things in life.
If chocolate is an aphrodisiac, then Belgian chocolate should be a controlled substance. Treat your honey to the one-pound pralines general assortment ($24) of sensuous chocolate delights filled with pralines, butter creams and ganaches.
Audrey Hepburn had breakfast there, but we would rather shop. Your honey will always know what time to call home with the Tiffany Classics Two-Time-Zone men's watch ($1,250). And she will always be listening when she wears the Garland diamond earrings in platinum (starting at $1,500).
If a dozen roses is a token of your affection, five dozen ($99.99) says, "I love you" in a big way. This site also delivers bouquets like the lovely lilies in Everlasting Beauty ($39.95) directly from the grower to your beloved.
Until there' s click and sniff technology, if you can't make up your mind choose the Women's Variety Gift Set ($37.50), five mini bottles of perfume. (We like the bottles as much as their contents.) For the man in your life, the Nautica Competition gift set ($44), with cologne spray, deodorant and shower gel, makes good scents.
The holidays are the best excuse to spoil them rotten, but today's school-age kids are not content with just toys; there are video games and software to consider. At least Harry Potter has given kids a new reason to read, so let's keep a good thing going. We haven't forgotten the littlest ones in our search; there's plenty on the Web for them too.
Since Etoys sorts their merchandise by age or category, anyone can find a great gift here. If you're not quite ready to commit to the Saint Bernard they've been begging for, adopt Poo-Chi, the interactive pet ($24.99, for ages 4 and up). This electronic puppy looks high-tech and moves, interacts and sings with your child. Best of all, he doesn't need to be paper-trained.
Amazing selection and great delivery. Now that they've read the latest Harry Potter for the fourth time, choose an age-appropriate gift book set and introduce them to classic authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, E.B. White or Rosemary Wells ($13 to $90).
The best video games improve hand-eye coordination and teach kids how to build on skills. Kids like them because they are fun, like Rayman 2 ($46.95 Dreamcast), a wonderful game for the whole family. Hint: Make sure you know which game system your intended recipient prefers, since titles come out in various formats. To shop at this site, choose the online store, then search video games.
This major electronics store has 119 children's software titles. There's plenty of educational software but make them happy with Learning Company's Pokerom: Pikachu CD-Rom for Windows & Macintosh ($6.99), for grades one through five.
Give your little brainstormer My First Fish Bowl ($19.95), a colorful fabric bowl with four sea creatures each with its own pattern, texture and sound. You put them in, she takes them out--she's a genius!
If you say you like it, they have to say they don't; that's the Teen Code of Contrariness. We heartily recommend gift certificates, which can be obtained at all the sites listed here. And we do have some cool suggestions--just don't tell them we said so.
Is it possible for a teenage girl to have enough clothes? If you're lucky, she could choose the locker organizer ($9) instead of the tube tank ($12), but don't hold your breath.
Whether they're into Britney Spears (Oops! I Did it Again, $13.99 CD) or Creed (Human Clay, $13.99 CD), you will find it here, often for less than at other sites or stores.
When we checked, this site had good prices for the Sony MZR70 Portable minidisc player/recorder (starting at $177.95), which can record from CDs, radio and the computer. You can choose among several vendors to fulfill your order, and they're all well below the manufacturer's suggested retail price of $279.99.
Start a good habit now, and maybe someday you'll get pictures of the grandkids. We love the Polaroid I-Zone (Silver Edition) instant pocket camera kit ($21.95); it takes pictures that become stickers. A trial pack of sticker film is included.