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Last Minute Gifts That Don’t Suck

I see you.  You’re the one who hasn’t even started doing the holiday gift shopping.  For some of you, it’s a challenge.  Like the devotees of Black Friday, you like doing your shopping on Christmas Eve with all those other panicked souls, digging through the last of the George Foreman grills and the <insert local sports team here> memorabilia. 

For others of you, it’s a big giant case of putting stuff off to the last minute, and I feel you.  I’ve been there, and it happens.  I won’t judge, I’m here to help.  What follows is a list of gift possibilities that range from practical to really fun, in a variety of budget friendly price ranges.  I’m using your average super store as a model for my list, you can probably cobble something similar together at whatever shopping option you have available to you.

Five Dollars or Less

Winter Salvation kit: Two pairs of those stretchy gloves in the same color, a tube of lip balm and a little chocolate.

Kids on the Go kit: 8 pack of crayons, coloring book, deck of cards

Morning Delight: Cute travel mug, tiny tin of chocolate covered espresso beans

Ten Dollars or Less

Pretend Beach: travel sized coconut scented lotion, trashy paperback

Crafty Grab Bag: glue sticks, clear tape, notions, ribbon, etc in a clear plastic storage box

Teacher’s Helper: crayons, pencils, post-its, hand wipes, glue sticks – most teachers restock the school supply cabinet over Winter break.

Twenty Dollars or Less

College Kid Care: Forever stamps, small food storage container set, blank CDs, cheap USB storage device

For the stoner: lighters, rolling papers, snack assortment, Febreeze, Visine

For the asshole boss: Four fruitcakes

Awesome Neighbor Award: Egg nog, bottle of something good to spike it with, evening of babysitting so she can drink it in peace

Fifty Dollars or less

A night in: cozy throw, underappreciated movie from the bargain bin, microwave popcorn, box of Sno Caps

Seventies party kit: Fondue pot, Twister, bargain bin best of the ’70s CD

Quick, Dirty and Homemade

A mix CD – perhaps it’s 17-year-old Selena aching to get out, but I think a music mix can be a very personal and ultimately well loved gift.  Brighten up someone’s commute, make your special someone a retrospective of music from all the years you’ve been together or take Slay’s idea and make your daughter or other young girl or woman you know a killer mix of women musicians who changed your world.

Bake something delicious – as long as you’re aware of any allergies or restrictions on a recipient’s diet and bake accordingly, I think homemade tasty goodies are another wonderful gift.  Store bought never tastes as good because they don’t put the love in, as my mom used to say.   Even a simple to prepare treat is thoughtful and sweet, and most people I know are delighted to receive an edible gift.

Mini Scrapbook –  if you’ve got a stack of photos around, or a bunch on your hard drive, you can make a mini scrapbook of memories you share with a particular recipient.  You can buy scrapbook paper in every pattern and color imaginable,  in a couple of different sizes, or you could get creative with an Internet image search and your color printer to make backgrounds.   Type up a few sentences for each photo in a word processing program and play with the size and font before printing on cardstock.  Cut out, then glue your text and the photos to the background images.  Fancy each page up with anything you have around; ribbon, stickers, old jewelry bits, whatever inspires you.  When completely dry, stack your pages and punch holes to bind the pages together.  Use ribbon, yarn or pretty string to tie it off in a bow.  Do an image search online for “scrapbook pages” to get inspired, or even just if you’re bored.  Some scrapbook makers are really, really talented.

You’ve still got a few days left, my slacker friends.  You can still be the gift giving hero this season.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

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