ABCs of X-Mas Special

I is for ink

art "Small gift, big smile" has been the operating phrase for Sanrio, the mega-popular Japanese-based designer and distributor of all things Hello Kitty. And one of those small gifts -- for both older collectors and young, budding writers -- has been its pens, whimsically designed with variations of the beloved star feline.

The kitty gets a costume changeover every month of the year. In October, she was Hello Kitty Plaid (complete with her own Scottish terrier) and the boldly designed, cylindrical barrel pen (list price $2.25) is perfect for preschool-sized hands -- although that shouldn't stop young teens from scribbling with it as well.

Girls (or sensitive boys, too, I guess) can also use the five-pen "ComboColoRama" marble color set ($9.50), described as having "opaque ink -- perfect for writing on dark and colored paper!" An added attraction are two character buttons included in each pack.

Hello Kitty got a double makeover this month, just in time for the holiday season. She's both a bundled-up ice skater and a just-too-precious-looking white bear -- with a pair of wings, yet! She balances atop a cleverly designed, clear-barrel pen, sprinkled with gold stars and glitter, and wrapped at its end with a silver-colored wire and pearl knob ($4.75).

Something this fragile-looking has more collector value for teens and adults than your usual utilitarian writing instrument. And both pens have like-designed stationery to go with it -- because you DO want to collect them all, don't you? (All are available at the Sanrio store at the Ala Moana Center. The plaid and white bear pens are also available at the Sanrio Surprises stores in the Pearlridge, Kahala Mall and Hawaii Kai Towne Center shopping centers.)

The Star-Bulletin's countdown to Christmas continues daily, one letter at a time.

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