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How many fruitcakes are there in the world?

December 4, 2009 |  5:00 pm

Fruitcake Fruitcake? Bring it on. The lovely pale fruitcakes made with sherry and the best dried fruits. The creepiest ones full of red and green colored things that might once have been fruit. The nutty ones that hardly deserve the name. I love them all.

If I'm not alone, it seems like I'm close.

Fruitcake is fair game for the cruelest of jokes, like the one that plays on the idea that there is just one fruitcake in the world, and it gets passed around endlessly. But perhaps PayPal can be forgiven: It has turned that joke into a way to raise money for a couple dozen charities during the holiday season.

Its "Regift the Fruitcake" campaign asks people to make a virtual fruitcake and pass it on to friends in an effort to get them to donate to one of the charities -- through PayPal, of course. The recipients include Kiva, Operation Smile and Architecture for Humanity, and donors can see what their money buys on the website.

"Our goal is to turn a gift that no one wants into a gift for a good cause,” says Jamie Patricio of PayPal.

Hmmm. I'll try to be magnanimous; it is after all the holiday season.

-- Mary MacVean

Photo by Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times