Dreaming of a Virtual Christmas?

How much is that doggy in the pop-up window? That's what more shoppers are asking this holiday season.

To avoid the crowds, more consumers are bundling up and heading to the computer to browse for gifts in the glow of their monitors. According to a survey (commissioned by America Online) of 7,000 shoppers nationwide, 64% say they will spend more for gifts online than in previous years -- an average of $298 per shopper. Music and videos are the favored treats of the season.

But in particularly plugged-in environments, the online shopping phenomenon is more pronounced. In Miami, Fla., and Nashville, Tenn., for instance, shoppers will spend more electronically than Secret Santas in other parts of the states. San Franciscans shame them all, spending an average of nearly $400 online for holiday gifts.

If you're looking to avoid long lines at the Internet café, we have a few suggestions:

  • Fool Rick Munarriz offers four great tips to be a savvier e-shopper.

  • Instead of socks, how about giving stock ideas for Christmas? We've got you covered.

  • And finally, to satiate your charitable leanings, check out our Foolanthropy drive this year.

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