Google Trends offers tips on what to buy for holidays

If you're trying to figure out what to get your friends and family for the holidays, it helps to be a Google Trends watcher. In other words, you can get some pretty good ideas for gifts by following the crowd.

So on this Cyber Monday -- called that because the first Monday after Thanksgiving usually has the most holiday online shopping -- here are some popular items that people are looking for:

Zhu Zhu Pets -- No surprise here. We've written about Zhu Zhu Pets a few times for WalletPop, most recently last week. These are those furry robotic hamsters that have somehow captured the country's attention. They retail for about $9, which is refreshing in this economy, and that's probably one reason for their appeal. Plus, they're cute.

Digital blue flix digital camcorder -- That's how it's showing up on Google Trends, but this is really the Digital Blue Disney Flix Video Camcorder, which retails for an attractive $39.95 (I'm suddenly sounding like I get a cut from this camcorder, and, no, sadly, I don't, but it is a nice price). It's easy to see why people are looking this up. As noted, the price is nice, and they're aiming it at kids who dream about being in the movies. You can shoot, edit and add special effects and footage. And parents can pray that their kids become the next Steven Spielberg.

Red Envelope -- Red Envelope is an online retail store with a lot of interesting, unique gifts. How it got onto Google Trends probably says just as much about its marketing team as its inventory, though, I'm betting.

Price -- This is a really cool idea. You know how some news networks have news bulletin e-mail alerts, where if a big story happens, they'll send you an e-mail? Same sort of concept, only with great prices and deals. With Price, you can keep track of holiday gifts you're considering buying, and if it drops below a price point, they'll let you know. If you buy the item, they'll let you know if it goes lower, since some stores have policies that allow you to get that extra money refunded if the price goes down. But just so you're warned: I've had trouble getting on the site today, which makes me think that they're getting a ton of traffic.

American Girl
-- I can't imagine people out there don't know about these dolls, though maybe my thinking is warped since I have two little girls, ages 5 and 8. These are dolls rooted in American history, where, for instance, you can purchase a doll that looks like she is living in the 1970s, or you can buy a doll gussied up to look like she's from the 1920s or 1880s -- you can buy the doll, the book, the accessories. Expensive, but fun.

iPod Touch -- the latest iPod from Apple. We probably needn't say more, but we will -- it's an iPod where you touch the screen and amazing things happen.

Nintendo DS -- These are some really amazing little hand held computer games and are very popular with the elementary school crowd, and I suspect middle and high schoolers, since you can just whip them out whenever you're bored -- standing in line, driving in the car -- and start playing. I sympathize with parents chasing after them. My daughters have been driving me crazy, asking for their own. The jury's still out whether Santa Claus will come through for them, but I have to admit, I wish they had something like this when I was a kid.
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