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Try some of these illuminating ideas for gifts

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With the holiday season just around the corner, millions of people nationwide once again are pondering the age-old question, "What gifts should I give this year?"

So many of us have long lists but are short on time. Flashlights are the perfect gift and are sure to brighten the holidays for both men and children.

First developed in 1898, the flashlight got its name because its inventor originally produced only a brief flash of light.

Since that time, flashlights have become popular gifts for men and children of all ages. From lighting up work areas, campsites and homes to providing light during storms, power outages and car breakdowns, as well as for outdoor and recreational use, the flashlight is a dependable, trustworthy tool to have around.

Dads, brothers, boyfriends, grandfathers, uncles, fathers-in-law, brothers-in-law, guys, pals, coworkers and bosses will be pleasantly surprised this year with a gift of light.

• Hard-case lanterns and flashlights are available that are uniquely designed to survive the most rugged conditions at home or on the job. They are durable, flexible, shock-absorbing and have a shatterproof lens so that the lights work when most needed.

• For the outdoorsman on your list, look for a folding fluorescent lantern, which is great for camping, hiking, nighttime barbecues and other activities — or for working in low-lit areas. The easy-to-grip handle makes it comfortable to carry.

• Well-suited for the dorm room or garage, an LED rechargeable flashlight saves money on batteries while providing a reliable light source. It plugs into any standard electrical outlet and provides eight hours of power per charge. Some also are equipped with an amber LED locator so that it can be found when needed most.

For the children on your list, choose from a wide selection of whimsical lights designed especially for youngsters based on characters in popular animated movies, including collectible and disposable squeeze lights are easy to squeeze making them fun to play with for ages 3 and older.

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