I'm kind of late this year but tomorrow, I"ll have the bike ready for Christmas shopping. I recently purchased a real strong rack made by Trek (or so the LBS told me) and it held up well. The rack I had last year broke because of the cold weather and heavy load. It this time of the year you wish you had an Xtracycle and you can do it all at one time but I guess my Trek rack will just have to do. I'm curious as to what people will be carrying on their bikes this shopping season.
OH.. By the way, the cars were actually much nicer to me last night after seeing my purchase attached to the rear of the bike. This is one added benefit I didn't expect. ;-)