5 Fabulously Frivolous Holiday Gifts

  • Give the best gift under the tree Holiday shopping got you flummoxed? Can't bear the thought of combing the malls only to emerge with underwhelming gifts that likely will be forgotten by New Year's?

    Relax -- we've got you covered.

    According to Gallup, Americans expect to spend an average of $764 on Christmas gifts this year, $50 more than last year and more than $100 above their expected outlay in 2008 and 2009.

    So if you're going to spend that money anyway, why not spend it on something extraordinary -- a gift that raises the bar for all yuletide offerings to follow? Here are five fabulous holiday gifts that will definitely be remembered.

  • Lego my image New York sculptor Nathan Sawaya can deliver one gift that Michelangelo, Pablo Picasso and Auguste Rodin could not: your life-size, 3-dimensional replica made entirely of Lego bricks.

    "I started sculpting out of more traditional media like clay and wire," says Sawaya. "I was doing a series of sculptures out of candy, which like Legos are additive in nature, using small pieces to create these larger forms. One day, I thought, what about this toy from my childhood? So I dug out all of these Lego bricks and just challenged myself to do large-scale pieces, and it's worked out."

    Indeed. Sawaya has parlayed his uncanny Lego sculptures into a cottage industry that includes lobby art for hotels, private commissioned pieces, even abstracts. He once Lego-ed an entire bedroom for an episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

    But there's something magical about his human replicas. Each takes two to three weeks to complete; all he requires are photos of the subject from 360 degrees.

    The secret to his success? Patience, of course.

    "It is one of the factors you definitely need," he says. "These projects don't happen overnight."

    Price: $15,000 to $25,000 for a life-size replica, depending on size and complexity. Children and pets would fall in the $5,000 to $10,000 range.

  • London Olympics: Ready, set, go! Sports fans and anglophiles alike will be flocking to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London seven months from now when the opening ceremonies kick off July 27.

    If you've dreamed of surprising the family with an Olympic-size holiday gift, the only place you can purchase this one is from CoSport, a Far Hills, N.J., sports and hospitality company, the exclusive authorized reseller for London Olympics tickets and hospitality packages in the United States.

    Since each country's ticket inventory has been set by the London Organizing Committee, it can be tricky landing individual tickets at this late date. That said, unless you're tight with the Windsors, you're going to need a hotel and meals anyway, so a hospitality package may make the most sense.

    "Hospitality packages are the best deal," says Tatiana Carino, a sales agent with CoSport. "You'll get the whole package with the tickets at our desk at check-in."

    Price: Three- to six-night packages including breakfast vary widely by location as well as the nature and number of ticketed events. Based on current listings, typical single packages range from $6,200 to $18,000-plus; doubles run $8,600 to $25,000-plus.

    Next >

    Bankrate.com is the Web's leading aggregator of information on financial products including mortgages, credit cards, new and used automobile loans, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, checking and ATM fees, home equity loans and online banking fees. Visit Bankrate.com to get the tools and information that can help you make the best financial decisions.