I would love to lead this story by pointing out how eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) trounced Wall Street's targets this past quarter and is raising its guidance for the next year, but would that even be newsworthy? It's not really that rare of a phenomenon when it comes to the world's leading auction site. In fact, it's practically a quarterly occurrence.

Yet why take eBay's excellence for granted? Besides, there are also some interesting nuggets worth exploring in the reported metrics, so let's dive in.

The company generated just more than $200 million in free cash flow during its September quarter as revenues climbed by 52% to hit $805.9 million. If you're wondering how a company big enough to produce what may be as much as $3.25 billion in revenue this year can be nimble enough to grow so quickly, the secret sauce is in its global expansion. eBay's overseas transaction revenue soared by 82% (compared with a respectable 29% spurt stateside).

Something else worth noting is that while the tally of active users was 51.7 million -- or 38% higher than last year's head count -- the number of listings grew by 48%. While that last number was skewed favorably by a fivefold surge in eBay Stores listings (which have a longer shelf life yet are clearly not as active as the traditional auction items), the company served as the intermediary in deals with a gross merchandise volume of $8.3 billion. That's a 44% improvement over the past year. So, ultimately, yes, it seems as though eBay continues to blossom even on a per capita basis!

The quarter also featured continued improvement at PayPal as well as some strategic global acquisitions and is simply paving the way for even bigger and better results come 2005. eBay is looking to earn as much as $1.42 a share next year on just over $4 billion in revenue. If you're not overly impressed, keep in mind that eBay has a habit of underpromising and overdelivering. These aren't targets as much as the start of fiscal negotiations.

With the holidays rapidly approaching, eBay is ready for the spotlight. While it may not seem like a typical holiday shopping draw like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Overstock (NASDAQ:OSTK), the company does flash a seasonal smile this time of year with folks hitting the site to find the perfect gift. With nearly 350 million listings this past quarter, there is no such thing as the person who truly has everything.

Do you eBay over the holidays? When will the company's growth slow down? While eBay's shares never seem to be cheap, are you concerned about its valuation these days?? All this and more in the eBay Discussion Board. Only on Fool.com.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a satisfied eBay user, but he has never bought the stock. He doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story.