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As the clock counts down to Christmas, celebrities have been keeping busy and warm by signing as many different items as humanly possible and donating them to a plethora of auctions. The holiday season may be at fever pitch now, but there is certainly a wide range of gift ideas to ease the stress of last minute shopping.

The VH1 Holiday Auction is currently being held at www.vh1auctions.com, and includes a long list of memorabilia from the music industry. All proceeds from the auction will go to the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, an initiative dedicated to restoring music programs in schools across the US.

Items up for grabs include a harmonica signed by Alice Cooper (which has already attracted bids of $250), signed photos of Aerosmith and Chris Cornell ($300), and a guitar personally autographed by Ryan Adams ($1500). Signed clothing is also big on the agenda, with a jacket from Snoop Dogg, a vest from Iggy Pop, and sneakers from Amy Winehouse.

Signed guitars are also available as part of the Private Sessions Charity Auction, with all proceeds to benefit the Starlight Children's Foundation. Avril Lavigne, the Goo Goo Dolls, Meat Loaf, the Barenaked Ladies, and Toby Keith are among the stars to sign both an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar for the auction, which also includes movie clapper boards autographed by Queen Latifah, Michael Douglas, and Anthony Hopkins.

But if these items whet your appetite, you have to be quick. The auction ends on December 12.

For those people celebrating Christmas in Australia this year, the Starlight Children's Foundation Australia is auctioning Christmas decorations signed by various celebrities. Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, The Rock, Delta Goodrem, Missy Higgins, and rugby league stars Matthew Johns and Benji Marshall have all put their names on baubles to raise money for sick children in the country.

An auction is also being held by Russell Simmons' Diamond Empowerment Fund, to raise money for education programs in African countries where diamonds are a natural resource. A variety of fine diamond pieces are up for sale at www.ebay.com/diamondsgive, including an exquisite diamond-encrusted Ohm watch from the Simmons Jewelry Company. The opportunity to take part in exclusive photo shoots with celebrities such as Petra Nemcova, Naomi Campbell, LL Cool J, and Cedric the Entertainer are also up for grabs in the auction.

Actress and environmental activist Daryl Hannah is also doing her bit to ease the shopping blues this year, and has launched a brand new online store. www.dhlovelife.com offers goods picked with serious consideration of their environmental, social, and animal welfare impact. And if special holiday items such as an organic peace wreath and 100% recycled cards do not excite you, the store also offers compost buckets, surfboards and guitars made from hemp, bamboo snowboards, organic dog treats, and even a solar powered boat. The actress will also sell her personal bio diesel car and home fueling system on the site on December 20.

And finally a little news from the recent Lightspeed Fine Art Celebrity Charity Auction, held in Lake Forest, California, on the weekend of December 1 and 2. Lightspeed specializes in artworks relating to science fiction, and their eighth annual auction attracted guests from shows such as Stargate, Voyager, and Battlestar Galactica.

A surprise guest at the auction was Leonard Nimoy, better known as Mr Spock from Star Trek. Nimoy, who is reputed to have a huge personal collection of Star Trek memorabilia, donated several items to the auction signed by himself and William Shatner, including a plaque awarded from NASA for “inspiring a generation of scientists and explorers”.

Nimoy’s contributions made over $14,000 of the total $40,000 raised during the auction, with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society and the Nimoy Foundation, an initiative that gives grants to artists-in-residence programs in museums and galleries around the US.

In the words of Mr Spock – “live long and prosper”.

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