Guest Post by Jen Malik

I’ve never been one to get my Christmas shopping done ahead of time. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas until it’s really time. I got a good chuckle when I was in a grocery line earlier this month and the cashier told me (it was DECEMBER 4!!!), “I’m going to finish my last-minute Christmas shopping tomorrow.”


Last minute?

Well, I guess because in the commercial world Christmas starts well before November even starts, December 4 can seem like last minute. Of course, if you wait until the TRUE last minute and hit the shopping mall, you’re probably headed for some aggravation and disappointment.
However, if you use some of my tips below, last-minute shopping can be much more pleasurable and the recipients of your gifts will probably pretty happy too.

– Food clubs. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Many of us think of the fruit-of-the-month club or something like that but this kind of thing has caught on. You can find just about any kind of monthly club that your recipient is interested in: salsa, jellies, desserts, wines, beer and even barbeque sauce.

– Gift cards. It seems like such a small presentation, but it is quite a popular gift. Do you know how many people pack the stores the day after Christmas just to return gifted items? A gift card avoids all of that. Have the kids put together some festive wrapping or decorate and envelope for a personal touch.

– Charitable gifts. These gifts put others first and help great causes at the same time. Perfect for the person who ALREADY has everything, you can make a donation to various international charities (wildlife foundations, disaster relief, medical missions, peace keeping efforts and more) in the name of your gift recipient. They will receive a letter thanking them for their donation.

– Food gifts. Before toys and technology, people gave what they had and that was usually some sort of food item. Sweet breads in decorative loaf pans, cakes, cookies and cupcakes still make great gifts for teachers, grandparents, neighbors and friends. Give the delectable offerings time to cool sufficiently before wrapping them.

– Memberships/Subscriptions. Has one of the people on your list been meaning to join a gym? You can gift them a membership for Christmas. When money gets tight, memberships and subscriptions are usually the first to go. Renew a subscription to their favorite magazine or a service like AAA Motor Club.

– Gift baskets. Most stores have them on display at Christmas time. You can purchase one that is already made if you see one that fits your recipient’s tastes. For teachers and coworkers, baskets with mugs and coffee or hot chocolate are a safe bet. Or better yet, create your own with a basket and small items that reflect the recipient.

Overall…have fun. Dress your packages up, make your own cards. The personal touch will always go a long way.