Making their final appearance in Christmas stockings this season: paper U.S. savings bonds.
A popular and colorful gift for children, the securities will no longer be available at banks and other financial institutions or through mail-in order after this year.
Instead, starting in 2012, the Treasury Department will offer Series EE and I bonds only online through http://www.treasurydirect.gov.
The move to electronic versions is projected to save $70 million over five years in printing, storage and processing fees, the government said. Last year, about 4.7 million people bought 9.4 million savings bonds over the counter.
The bond program originated during the Depression in 1935 as a way for the government to tamp down the federal debt.
Officials have already phased out sales of paper bonds through traditional employee payroll plans.
Current holders will still be able to redeem their bonds, and lost ones can be reissued.