From books to DVDs to trading cards, consumers have varied shopping options

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HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — From helpful angels to a heaping dose of fresh Veggies, Christmas shoppers have a wide variety of wholesome products from which to choose for this year's gift giving.

Touched by an Angel DVD set
Fans of the CBS television hit "Touched by an Angel" series will be delighted with the DVD debut of two specially themed collections, each featuring several episodes selected by series executive producer Martha Williamson.

The series, starring Roma Downey and Della Reese in their Emmy-nominated roles, and John Dye, chronicled the missions of a group of angels sent by God. An audience favorite, the series ran for nine years on CBS and was nominated for numerous awards including 11 Emmys and two Golden Globes.

"Touched by an Angel: The Inspiration Collection—Hope" includes three episodes—including the series milestone 100th episode, "Psalm 151," in which the angels celebrate Monica's 100th assignment with a cake in the park—and features stellar guest stars such as Wynonna Judd, Rosa Parks and Mandy Patinkin. 

"Touched by an Angel: The Inspiration Collection—Holiday" features the beloved "An Angel on the Roof" episode, following the angels as they try to perform a Christmas miracle by bringing the residents of a small Texas town together. The collection also includes two episodes featuring the most requested and frequent guest star, country music legend Randy Travis in his recurring role as Wayne.

The DVDs are presented by CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment and retail for $14.99.

Each episode includes all-new personal introductions by Williamson, who provides her unique perspective and insight. Other extras include segments from the broadcast special "More True Stories from Touched by an Angel" and free music downloads.


VeggieTales Christmas DVD project
Seven years after its last Christmas DVD project, the VeggieTales are returning fresher than ever with "Saint Nicholas—A Story of Joyful Giving." The gang returns with Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber, who share the spirit of Christmas with humor and heart as they discover the power of giving. As with all VeggieTales stories, this one delivers a message: We don't give to others to make ourselves happy; we give because we are happy, thanks to the gifts God has given to us first.

To help drive home the point, Big Idea Inc., the producer of the popular VeggieTales franchise, has teamed up with Operation Christmas Child to hold gift shoebox drives in conjunction with Samaritan's Purse. More than 65,000 churches across the country were expected to hold shoebox collection activities after screening Saint Nicholas to the children.

"Right after watching Saint Nicholas, in the wake of being so inspired to give, that's the perfect time to put a shoe box together," said Grammy Award-winning recording artist Amy Grant, who joined forces with singer/songwriter Matthew West for the Saint Nicholas theme song "Give This Christmas Away."

"It's love in action. It's active learning with a great example of the joy of giving through the life of the real Saint Nicholas. And what better way to say, 'Hey kids, we could change a life, too. We could do something just that special.'"

The DVD retails for $14.99. For more information, visit www.bigidea.com.


'LT & Me' book
Readers do not have to be football fans to appreciate "LT & Me," an inspirational memoir from Loreane Tomlinson, mother of standout San Diego Chargers NFL running back LaDanian Tomlinson, affectionately called LT by teammates and fans.

In her book, which includes a foreword by her famous son, the Fort Worth mother shares her struggles in raising her three children as a single mom.

According to the publicist, the book traces LT's journey from a small-town boy who carried a football everywhere he went to become an NFL superstar, and the behind-the-scenes story of the woman he calls his inspiration who helped make it all happen. How did this struggling single mom, who often worked two or more jobs at once, manage to scrape together the money for LT to attend his first football camp? Why did she reach out to make peace with her children's father even as he battled the addictions that had once torn their home apart? What did she do to cultivate the talents—and shape the character—of the young man who has been described as representing "all that is good in sports today"?

In the end, it was not just her son who emerged in the spotlight. The book's author has also been featured in numerous national commercials for Campbell's soup and Visio television and was profiled on the CBS newsmagazine "60 Minutes." She has been interviewed by countless radio stations and publications like Sports Illustrated.

Among her most cherished possessions is a letter LT wrote to his mother when he was a senior in high school. In the note Tomlinson vowed he was going to go to college, he was going to play professional football, and he was going to make her the proudest mother in the world.

The list price for the 264-page book, released this summer, is $24.99


Bible trading cards
Move over baseball and football trading card fans, Creation by Design has created a new generation of trading cards using 3D digital computer graphic art to enhance biblical narratives.

"My Bible Cards" is designed to help parents and educators teach children the Bible without compromising on the Word of God and by taking advantage of the latest art trends in the trading card industry.

"No other work has affected my life more than the Bible, and it is my hope that the younger generation can appreciate the story, its values and ethics through art portrayed on these cards," said Steven Kaye, CEO of Creation by Design.

The concept, he said, evolved after hearing a sermon about mindless violence and how children 6 to 12 are heavily influenced by the secular values of Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon and Chaotic. He realized there was no alternative to inspire children about the Bible.

"It is my vision that one child will ask another, 'I will trade my Abraham for your Micah,'" Kaye said.

The initial series offering boasts 100 cards covering most of the Biblical episodes within the five books of Moses. The Old Testament series will eventually encompass 818 separate cards. Plans are on the way to create a series for the New Testament.

"All information on our trading cards has been written and edited by several Biblical scholars and educators," Kaye said. "It is important to ensure the integrity of words of the Bible are never watered down."

A five-pack of random cards retails for $3.99 or boxes of 24 five-packs, creating a full set of cards, is available for $96. Wholesale pricing and discounts are available for religious groups and schools. For more information, visit www.mybiblecards.com.

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