Monday, December 23, 2013

Down to the Wire Ten

Ten Things to Help with Last-Minute Gifting

I think the best gift for the person who has everything is a charitable donation in their name. To personalize it fit the charity to one of their passions or struggles, such as the Humane Society for an animal lover, a literacy program for a dedicated reader, or the American Cancer Society for someone who has battled the disease.

A blank book, pretty pen and a printed list of writing prompts can encourage your recipient to do some journaling.

Keeping an extra/generic gift on hand can be helpful, especially when that unexpected guest shows up with a gift for you. My favorite emergency gift is home-baked cookies in a pretty holiday tin; if I don't need to use it we just eat the gift.

My favorite feel-better gift for someone coping with a cold during the holidays is a basket or gift bag filled with a pretty mug, envelopes of instant soup or hot chocolate, a pair of funny fuzzy socks and a stack of paperbacks, a movie or a music CD.

A bowl or basket of fresh fruit is a lovely gift during the holidays, and if you make it yourself you can customize it to your recipient's tastes. Add some whole walnuts, pecans or almonds and some fresh evergreen twigs to give it a festive look.

An electronic bookstore gift card can be ordered and delivered right up to the very last minute; so can gift e-books. Tip: Find out what brand of e-reader your recipient uses before you buy; someone who owns a Nook will likely want an e-gift card from B&N.com; a Kindle owner will prefer Amazon.com, etc.

To give 12 months of reading, take a blank subscription card from your favorite magazine and slip it into a holiday card; ask your recipient to fill in the delivery details and then mail it in with your check pay for a year's subscription.

Another great (and easy to make) last-minute gift is to print out your favorite photo of your recipient (or someone they love) and place it in a pretty frame.

My top three suggestions for last-minute gifts for a child are an age-appropriate funny book; a new, soft-furred teddy bear or a small gingerbread house kit.

If you can't afford a gift, offer your services instead. You can clean house or mow the lawn for an elderly person, babysit for busy parents, be a beta reader for a writer pal, take your friend's pup to the dog park, etc. For a really good friend, make up a stack of 12 coupons redeemable for various services over the next year.

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