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Panic Attack

I have HOW MANY days till Xmas?

Panic Attack — You’ve Got 12 Days!

It’s 12 days before Christmas — which means there’s plenty of time to get your shopping done, but no time for wasted effort. To get your online shopping spree off to a fast start, turn to the BizRate Guide, an independent review of Web-based retailers from Binary Compass Enterprises, a research firm based in Marina Del Ray, California.

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The site evaluates more than 400 online merchants, rating them on their customer service, product selection, on-time delivery, and ease of return. It also provides information on shipping options, return policies, and security. Worried about the site’s objectivity? Don’t be. Merchants don’t pay to be included, and results are based on assessments by the BizRate staff and on customer feedback. Smart holiday shoppers start here.

Coordinates: BizRate Guide, www.bizrate.com

Panic Attack — You’ve Got 3 Days!

Giving holiday gifts can give you a big headache. But rushing to send out holiday cards to friends and relatives can send you right over the edge.

E-greetings Network, formerly known as Greet Street, makes it fun, easy, and fast to send virtual holiday greetings. E-greetings come in the form of postcards or animations. You just visit the site, choose a greeting, personalize it, and enter an email address for the recipient. Postcards cost 50 cents per greeting and animations cost $2.50 each — although, for the holidays, E-greetings will be offering most of its greetings for free! (Note: Viewing E-greeting animations requires a Shockwave-enabled browser.)

There are E-greetings for every occasion. But at holiday time especially, they can be a last-minute savior.

Coordinates: E-greetings Network, www.egreetings.com

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Panic Attack — You’ve Got 24 Hours!

Christmas is Friday. Today is Wednesday. You’re filled with the holiday spirit — abject terror. It’s the last day to buy gifts that FedEx or the Post Office can deliver in time to be under the tree.

Our advice: Don’t rush out to the nearest mall. Instead, point your browser to Egift.

Egift is a creation of CyberShop International Inc., an upscale, online department store headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Think Bloomie’s for the Net.) Egift offers more than 1,000 products, from manufacturers such as Waterford and Crabtree & Evelyn. Most important, it guarantees (on request) next-day delivery of any product ordered before 9 p.m. EST — complete with a gift card, a preaddressed thank-you note, and (if you’d like) free gift wrapping.

Egift isn’t just fast; it’s smart too. Tell the site’s virtual Gift Finder the recipient’s age and gender, and it will make suggestions.

Coordinates: Egift, www.egift.com ; Cybershop International Inc., www.cybershop.com

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