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The countdown to Christmas has begun, and celebrities are doing their best to make holiday shopping easy this year. Several charity auctions have already kicked off to raise money for good causes, including one that may be eBay’s largest sale of celebrity items… ever!

The BID 2 BEAT AIDS online auction will open on December 1, World AIDS Day, and will feature over 1000 specially signed items, ranging from posters to iPods. The annual auction will raise money for LIFEbeat, the music industry’s AIDS fundraising and service charity, and in the past has raised up to $175,000.

The array of memorabilia up for sale this year is simply colossal, with perhaps the most interesting items being a series of “Lend a Hand to LIFEbeat” cards that feature the handprints of over 100 celebrities. Stars such as Britney Spears, Jack Black, and Kathy Griffin traced around the outlines of their hands and decorated their artworks for the auction, and the finished products will make a unique addition to any Christmas stocking.

Also included in the auction is a selection of signed musical instruments. Rapper 50 Cent has donated the tambourines he used during his performance at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, and Metallica and the Foo Fighters have both donated guitars. There are also over 200 official RIAA gold and platinum record awards up for sale, from artists such as Annie Lennox, Jon Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Green Day. Rare tour crew jackets from Guns N Roses, Cher, George Michael, and Prince are also available.

There are a stack of autographed CDs and DVDs on offer in the auction, from Mariah Carey, Elton John, Rihanna, Fall Out Boy, Maroon 5, Amy Winehouse, and Val Kilmer, as well as books signed by Madonna, Bill Clinton, Rosie O'Donnell, Martha Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Ethan Hawke. Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Elijah Wood, and Usher have all signed posters for the auction.

For those people after something a little different, the auction also includes an iPod designed by Yoko Ono, a box of cereal signed by Will Ferrell, Borat’s hat signed by Sacha Baron Cohen, and a Spiderman action figure autographed by Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.

And if nothing mentioned so far whets your appetite, there are also signed items from Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba, Nelly, Joan Collins, John Travolta, Kanye West, The Cure, Jay-Z, Cameron Diaz, Victoria Beckham, Robin Williams, Hilary Duff, Jason Alexander, Jack Nicholson, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Adam Sandler, John Legend, Jessica Simpson, Whoopi Goldberg, Aerosmith, Denzel Washington, Good Charlotte, James Blunt, Jeremy Piven, Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Norah Jones, Razorlight, Wyclef Jean, and many more… far too many to list here.

More information and a full list of items can be found at www.bid2beataids.com.

As if this wasn’t enough choice for Christmas shoppers, there are also several other auctions and events on the go at the moment. The biggest of these is the 10th Annual Collaborating For A Cure Benefit Dinner and Auction, a massive black tie gala to be held on November 29. It also happens to be one of the highest grossing charity events held every year in New York, and last year raised over $4 million for the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, a non-profit organization that has provided over $55 million in grants to cancer research, and has been instrumental in the development of new cancer drugs.

The gala dinner and live auction will be held at the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue, New York City, and over 1200 guests are expected to attend. The host for the evening is Chevy Chase, and attendees will be treated to a very special performance by Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh, members of 70’s rock group, the Eagles.

Selected items up for auction on the night as well as online include dinner with Chevy Chase, the chance to play tennis with Andre Agassi, and a meet and greet with Aerosmith.

More information can be found at www.charitybuzz.com.

Also on the Charitybuzz website is an auction to raise funding for Stand Up For A Cure, an organization dedicated to lung cancer research and awareness.

The auction runs from November 28 until December 12, and features unique items such as the chance to have Andrea Bocelli perform in your own home, the opportunity to have Patti LaBelle host your cocktail party, and VIP tickets to see Céline Dion at Madison Square Gardens.

And if you still can’t find a suitable gift, have a look at the Have A Heart Auction on Charitybuzz. All proceeds from the auction, which features the chance to meet Avril Lavigne, a copy of “An Inconvenient Truth” signed by Al Gore, and a “Godfather II” DVD signed by Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, will benefit HEART, an organization that aims to foster compassion and respect for all living beings.

But you have to be in quick, as the auction ends on November 29.

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