Posted: Friday, November 22, 2002

STUFFED LIKE A TURKEY: When it comes to Thanksgiving, we're stuffing our homes as tightly as our turkeys.

More than a quarter of American families typically feed 15 or more people at Thanksgiving dinner, with the average cook hosting 11 people, according to a survey of 2,400 people by Hotwire, the San Francisco-based online travel agency. Midwesterners usually have the most people, with 32 percent of Farm Belt families playing host to a dozen or more diners.

All of this company leads to tight sleeping quarters, too. A third of the people said someone always gets the couch or the floor.

BOARD PAY: While outside corporate directors have gotten some harsh scrutiny lately -- they're not vigilant enough about shareholder interests, is the general assessment -- their pay continues to rise.

Median total compensation for non-employee directors of U.S. boards rose this year from 2001's medians in the three major industry sectors covered in The Conference Board's annual study of outside director pay.

The study is based on a survey of director compensation and board practices in 662 companies.

For manufacturers, total compensation for outside directors was $55,700, up from $51,000 last year. Board remuneration in the financial sector increased from $40,250 to $41,450, while services rose only $400 to $48,400.

Total compensation includes annual, one-time or periodic grants of stock, restricted stock grants, and the value of option grants.

SELF-GIFTING: It's a January nightmare, yes? The holiday credit card bills come and your stomach lurches. But chances are, Christmas sweaters for Aunt Susie aren't busting your budget -- you are.

More than three out of four us, 76 percent, concede buying stuff for ourselves when out holiday shopping. And 22 percent say they always have to have something when out shopping for others.

The holidays also are the time of the gift that keeps on giving -- 32 percent of people said they ''regift,'' taking something they received and giving it to someone else.

And apparently thoughts of travel tend to cloud our views on buying presents: more than one in four men, (26 percent) and nearly one in five women (19 percent) said they'd rather be saving for a vacation than giving gifts.

The results are from American Express' yearly ''Holiday Confessions'' survey of 500 adults last month.

I GAVE AT THE OFFICE: The boss might not feel so charitable about this little factoid: Most online donations are made weekdays during business hours.

A study by Kintera Inc., a consultant to nonprofits, found that weekday donations account for 87 percent of online charitable contributions. Only 13 percent of Internet gifts are made during the weekend.

The study was based on an analysis of 300,000 online transactions for U.S. fund-raising events between Sept. 1, 2000 and Nov. 1, 2002.

''The workplace offers an exciting new window of opportunity for giving,'' said Harry Gruber, San Diego-based Kintera's founder and chief executive.

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