Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Christmas seriously sneaked up on me this year. I guess I could blame it on a late Thanksgiving, which is usually the trigger to get on the ball. Maybe my new freelance writing career is keeping me busy. Maybe I’ve just had a series of life events that have demanded my attention. Maybe it’s age. Whatever the reason, the result is the same. It’s only eight days until Christmas and I’m NOT READY!!!

After some deep breathing, I’ve come up with a plan. Rather than detailing specifics, I’d like to share some general ideas that can be used by most anyone. No rocket science here, just practical tips for avoiding the consequences of too much procrastination.

Gift Cards

Always popular and appropriate for most anyone, the easiest last minute present is a gift card. Available from local merchants, chain stores and online retailers, a suitable gift card can be found for anyone, anywhere. For increased versatility, opt for a VISA gift card.

Admittedly, the drawback of giving gift cards is the expense. While cards can be purchased for a small amount, the value of the card is what the recipient will have to spend. Consider giving a family card to increase the spending power. For instance, for a family of five, $10 each may not buy much. With a $50 gift card, however, the family can choose something nice to be used by all members.

Homemade Candy and Baked Goods

If both money and time are short, consider making some holiday goodies. Many of the ingredients needed are probably already on hand. Think cookies and popcorn balls. Homemade fudge is my personal favorite and seems to be eagerly anticipated by those on my list.

Gift Baskets

Customized baskets or gift packs are appropriate for both young and old. No, I’m not talking about the ones you can buy in most every store this time of year. Consider putting together your own. It’s relatively easy and inexpensive to find an appropriate container and fill it with a variety of small items. Think crayons and coloring pads for small children, specialty tea in a nice cup for a friend or several types of nuts with a nutcracker for an uncle.


Give the gift of time. It doesn’t have to cost anything and the actual event can be scheduled for after the holidays. For instance, for a family with children, give parents a gift of babysitting and the kids a game or craft night. Take an elderly neighbor shopping or a small child to the park. The memories created through the gift of time are free but priceless!

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