We are not amused

Ever given someone else a present, only to find out later that he or she passed it along to a third person? The practice is known as regifting, and if it has happened to you, then you have something in common with Queen Elizabeth II. Last week, reportedly, a Buckingham Palace employee was fired for trying to auction on eBay one of the traditional puddings that her majesty gives to staffers for Christmas. What's more, he was asking almost four times what the item costs at an upscale London food store. It's not known which was worse: that, or the knowledge that the pudding was a hand-me-down, since the man had obtained it from a co-worker. He himself hadn't been there long enough to qualify for one.

Let's take it for a spin

In Curitiba, Brazil, a developer is marketing "an entirely new concept in living." It's an 11-story apartment tower, each of whose floors revolves independently, left or right. Cost per suite: $300,000.

Holiday season decorators ask: 'What electric bill?' Each year, Americans seem to have more choices available to them for holiday decorations. Yet, it is lights - colored, white, twinkly, or the kind that seem to chase each other - that are by far the most popular, according to the Quarterly Lifestyle Trends Survey conducted for the HGTV cable channel. Slightly more than 60 percent of respondents said they've decorated - or expected to decorate - for the holidays, because it helps to put them in the spirit of the season. The decorations of choice this year, and the percentage who cited each:

1. Lights on the house 69%
2. Lights on outdoor trees 25%
3. Wreaths 21%
4. Santa figures 16%
5. Reindeer figures 15%
6. Icicle lights 14%
7. Snowman figures 11%
8. Garlands/greenery 8%
9. Candy canes (tie) Ribbons and bows 4%
11. Religious scenes or symbols 3%

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.