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Share-ing Is Caring: Give the Gift of Stock

This holiday season, buy your kids a gift with staying power: a single share of stock in their favorite company. It'll teach them a little bit about the stock market; it can grow in value and is worthwhile, but is also fun. You can decipher what company might have special meaning to them, such as Disney (DIS), Coca-Cola (KO), Mattel (MAT) or Nike (NKE).

Single shares of stock are an easy buy too. A variety of Web sites offer their services, so that the gift can be ordered with a click of the mouse and a credit card. The share you buy is tangible and can be made into an attractive wall hanging for your child's bedroom; shares come framed and can include customized inscriptions on small mounted plaques. Some sites, like , offer you the opportunity to include photos in the frame as well, at no extra cost.

Mickey Would Approve

At Web sites like , browsing is straightforward. The site breaks down their inventory of available stocks in categories like "For Her," "For Him," "My First Stock for Teens," and "Baby," as well as their own "OneShare Top Ten." When you click on the desired stock at OneShare, an image and description of what the stock certificate actually looks like are provided. On Dreamworks Animation's (DWA) certificate, the top of Shrek's green head peers out from over the bottom edge of the selected frame.

OneShare also provides an extra service for those families looking to use the gift as an educational tool for kids or teens. "My First Stock" includes a card of congratulations, an owner's manual, and a quick reference guide.

All That Glitters

Of course, these services cost more than just the price of the stock. Shareinaframe will charge you a $33 processing fee and the cost of the frame, which starts at $20 and goes up from there. Transfer fees at other sites, like Frame-A-Stock , vary according to the stock requested. Fancier frames at selected sites can cost more than $60. And one share of Disney went for $33.08 in 4 p.m. composite trading yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange. Don't forget to factor in the cost of shipping too, so be prepared to spend at least $100 to $150, depending on how expensive your child's tastes in the market are.

Frame-A-Stock offers gift wrapping as well as several different shipping options, including next day delivery via United Parcel Service (UPS). Frame-A-Stock also offers ideas on its Web site for inscriptions, appropriate to the stock bought, if you need a little inspiration. One saccharine example, for General Electric (GE) stock, "You Bring Good Things to My Life" -- Happy First Anniversary.

Bill Gates, Eat Your Heart Out

All you'll need to provide is the gift recipient's full name and street address. Remember though, that after registration is complete, they will be notified by mail of the proper tax documents needed to make the purchase legal. If the recipient is under 18, a custodian must also be named. That person's name will appear on the certificate as well.

Nate Herpich is a freelance writer and editor living in Brooklyn, N.Y. He has also written for the Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor and

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