Dec 14th 2006
Anyone who's ever re-gifted an unwanted present has felt the panic of too much to do and too little time.
With Christmas just days away and a long shopping list to complete, here are some ideas to help the last-minute shopper:
- Head to the grocery store. Yes, the gift options are limited, but some supermarkets sell books, DVDs and even a few toys, advises the Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne, Ind. They're great for stocking stuffers too. Think candy, wine, or even a fruitcake.
- Buy gift cards. Again, the grocery store can help here. Some sell gift cards at the checkout line for other retailers and restaurants. Most retailers have eliminated expiration dates and fees, and some offer discounts for people with gift cards, according to Dan Horne, a marketing professor at Providence College who specializes in gift cards. Unless you have no clue what someone wants, give gift cards from retailers, he advises. (Note: If you receive a gift card, use it as soon as you can to avoid any restrictions.)
- Consider e-cards. E-cards are the procrastinator's best friend. You can buy them online and e-mail them to a friend or relative, just make sure they like shopping online. Otherwise, it may go to waste.
- Give of yourself. Handmade presents are always appreciated. Home-baked breads and Christmas cookies are good choices. If you're crafty, make a wreath or ornaments for the tree. Consider giving a 'gift card' of your time to do a dreaded chore for a family member or friend.
- Give the gift to time. This could be the perfect answer for the employer who does not throw a holiday party or give bonuses. In a time of high stress, unmanageable to-do lists, and the huge family and cultural pressures of the holiday season, a half-day off, with pay, can be the best present of all.
- Don't sweat the small stuff. Think about what Christmas really means to you. It doesn't mean spending money like crazy. It's about making time for friends and family.