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A virtual can of whoop-ass in your stocking?

No lines, no shipping, no gift wrap--Virtual gifts are gaining steam.

You can now purchase and send your friends and co-workers a wide assortment of gifts online.

Wait, you say, that's not news? Well, these particular gifts aren't actually...real, in the strictest sense of the word. Except inasmuch as pixels on a screen are real. And computer code is real. Okay, they're technically real, you just can't show them off in person, and love them, and stroke them, and call them George.

Normally it would seem silly to spend hard-earned dollars on imaginary objects, but this trend might warrant an exception. Your pretend Second Life girlfriend could buy you a pretend Second Life necktie to spruce up your avatar's in-world look. Your Facebook BFF can send you a (digital image of a) bottle of champagne to mark a special occasion.

Anyone who wants to send me a virtual can of whoop-ass is welcome to. Not that I need any extra. But the champagne has to be real. Really real.

Read the full AP story at CNN.