Christmas is a mere 48 hours away and you are still clueless - though by now, frantically clueless - about what to get your crotchety Aunt Kaye, your boss or (dare you admit it?) your wife.
We can help. The Deseret News surveyed a dozen stores to find the most popular gifts this year. You can buy any one of these items confident in the knowledge that somebody out there somewhere is bound to like it because the store sold so many of them. When, we ask you, were the shopping masses ever wrong?- Music: "It's a rap Christmas this year," said Musicland manager Jim Mathis. M.C. Hammer's "Please Hammer Don't Hurt `Em" and Vanilla Ice's "To the Extreme" are top sellers.
Mannheim Steamroller's two Christmas albums are still the hottest two Christmas releases nationally, Mathis said. The newly released "Mannheim Steam Roller 7" is also blowing out the door.
"Out of our top 10 albums, that group's got three," Mathis said. For a more mellow sound, Julio Iglesias' "Starry Night" would be a good choice. Classical music lovers already know that "In Concert" featuring three tenors, Carreras, Domingo and Parvarotti, is selling out nationwide. "Warehouses can't fill the orders. This album's success caught everybody by surprise," Mathis said. Mehta conducts the orchestra.
- Books: "The Civil War: an Illustrated History," Ann Rice's "Witching Hour," Jean Auel's "The Plains of Passage," Charles Kuralt's "Life on the Road," Bo Jackson's "Bo Knows Bo," Tony Hillerman's "Talking God."
Books enjoying continued popularity are: "Cartoon History of the Universe," "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten," "Dances with Wolves," and the "Waldo" books for children.
- Videos: All Christmas videos, particularly "It's a Wonderful Life," and "Christmas Story." Videos that were hits on the screen, such as "Pretty Woman," and "PBS Civil War Series," (for a cool $200-$250 a set). "The ones that are selling are ones that have been out for awhile and their price has come down, such as `Look Who's Talking' or ones that people haven't seen in years and have just discovered are available, like `Victory at Sea,' " one video store manager explained.
- Children's gifts: The latest Nintendo game system, "Sports Set," for around $150. Nintendo's "Game Boy" hand-held system and "Dr. Mario." Anything with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or the Simpsons on it. And we do mean anything. "Sleeping bags, T-shirts, pajamas, hats, accessories, all of it," said Bob Eastin, manager of Toys R Us in Murray. Even telephones. One store sold its Bart Simpson telephones out in a day.
Newer games like "Taboo" and "Shark Attack" join perennial favorites like "Monopoly" and "Operation" on the best-selling games list.
Rollerblades and "Double-shot Basketball" - a 10-foot mimicry of basketball that runs $180. And always: Barbie.
- Men's gifts: Suspenders, cuff links, handknit cotton sweaters, boldly colored ties, 273 cologne, the more costly sports radios like the latest Sony Sports Walkman.
- Women's gifts: Short skirts, Marithe Girbaud jeans, handknit sweaters, small leather goods like wallets, anorak coats in wool, leather or fur, crystal and exotic housewares like breadmakers.
But if it's a sure bet you're looking for, may we suggest a gift for someone's pet. From La Pooch perfume intended to mask canine body odor, to tangle-removing fur shampoo, pet gifts are crowding more mundane offerings off the shelf this holiday season.
A chain of Utah stores that usually offers only clothing and accessories has succumbed to the trend and is doing a brisk business in gourmet doggie biscuits. These are not just any doggie biscuits. Sensitive to a dog's aesthetic needs as well as his physical appetites, the manufacturer of these biscuits has included a doggie Christmas ornament in the package of biscuits.
Such a gift would leave even Aunt Kaye speechless.