If you’re not done your holiday shopping, I hate to be the one to tell you this but you’re perilously close to running out of time. This year I had the majority of my shopping done by October (I feel your stares of contempt through the screen) but I’ve been known in the past to have realized that I forgot someone or something and have to make a stop on the way to an event to pick something up.
One of the most elegant friends I know has a small gift “store” in her linen closet. She keeps candles, soaps, toys and other small knick-knacks wrapped in the closet with cards nearby so that she can always be prepared for an unexpected gifting opportunity. She tells me that she did it because she once had a sister bring, unannounced, a new boyfriend to Christmas Day celebrations. She felt awful when the poor guy was awkwardly sitting around watching the rest of the family open gifts and wished she could have gotten something out for him to open to feel included. I remember thinking that this was such a graceful desire and now that she’s prepared for anything and to always make people feel loved with “remembering” a gift- a truly fabulous trait for us aspiring Princesses.
So, if you’re running to a holiday party this weekend and realize you’ve not gotten your boss/florist/baby-sitter/accountant/mother-in-law a present- or if it’s Christmas Day and Aunt Caroline drops by with an unexpected gift when you have nothing to give her in return… Here’s my top 10 ideas you can pick up or do on your way there to show up looking like you had been planning it for months. OK, days at least.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a big city where many stores are open 24/7, you’ll have no trouble picking up a gift along the way. Check out big drugstores- many of which are open 24 hours. My local 24 hour drugstore carries a huge selection of boxed chocolates which are pretty much a universally flattering gift. You can buy special Christmas varieties this time of year and there is almost always a box on sale. My drugstore also carries gift packaging of many personal grooming products with special items for the holidays. While not glamorous, a gift set of a new razor with body wash, etc. would be a pretty useful gift. Many drugstores now also carry gift cards for pretty much anywhere you can dream of, so you could pick up a gift card in any denomination you’d like. I’ve also been known to re-gift gift cards I receive for stores I don’t frequent to people I know would enjoy them. Just be sure you know the amount as I once had a friend think she received a big gift card from someone and re-gifted it as her mom’s whole Christmas present and there was $5 on it.
If you’re not lucky enough to see a drugstore open, there is always a gas station open somewhere. One of the best gifts I like to receive (planned or last minute) is a subscription to a magazine. I’d pick up a current copy of the magazine and then you can put a little note that a monthly subscription will be coming. You can then complete the subscription request later that day when you get home. With the price of gas being so high, many people aren’t spending money on carwashes– so if the recipient lives in the area, you could get them a punch card for several car washes. If you’re really desperate, you can also always find a huge variety of candy at a gas station. Wrap it all up in a a gift bag (Usually can find these in gas stations too) with a note that says “I’m sweet on you!” or something similar and ba-da-boom, it’s a gift! My brother actually once bought me an entire container of Fuzzy Peach candies (my favorite at the time) for Christmas. It was a hit!
Let’s say that you don’t have time to go to a drugstore or gas station. You can then make a beeline to your iPhone, iPad, Kindle, tablet, computer or whatever you can get your hands on and get amazing gifts online. You can buy gift cards for an online store you think they would enjoy and have the gift certificate e-mailed to them on a certain day. If you don’t want to do gift cards, you can always be charitable in your gift giving and through sites like WorldVision and purchase an animal to be delivered to a needy village, such as a goat for milk. Another cool gift a friend bought for another one recently was that they purchased the person their own name as a domain, such a cool idea if the person doesn’t already own it plus they’re pretty cheap from sites like GoDaddy. Another great online alternative is the of-the-month clubs… They exist for pretty much everything now- panties, beauty products, cheese…
And let’s say that the internet is down (The horror! The horror!), the person is at your door and you need something quick. You could write a heartfelt note saying that you’ll be volunteering at a charity in the next few weeks in their honour and if you’re really stuck, you can always wrap up a bottle of wine you have lying around.