NEW YORK (AP) – Stephanie Edwards-Musa of Houston finished her Christmas shopping early this year.

Her 13-year-old daughter is getting a PlayStation 2 and clothing from Hollister and Aeropostale. For her 5-year-old son, it’s a bundle of toys. The bill? $45.

She found these items used on It’s an online toy exchange launched last week.

Parent-to-parent swapping sites like this one are growing in popularity. They offer families a way to clear closets of toys and clothes their children have outgrown and get stuff in return.

Thrifty parents are finding plenty of places to barter on the Web, Craigslist, SwapMamas and Freecycle among them.

The fallout from the recession still has many parents struggling to balance the need to spend less with the desire to give their kids the things they want, especially during the holidays.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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