It's happened to everyone. You think you've finished your Christmas shopping, then your child comes home from school and announces that he needs a gift for his Secret Santa tomorrow! Or maybe you've opened the mail and found a gift certificate from someone that you didn't expect to give you a gift. In any case, the most important thing at this time is to find an appropriate gift -- quickly! Here are some ways to do just that.
- Plan for the unexpected. The best way to avoid those last-minute trips to the mall is to plan ahead. If you always have a supply of gifts on hand, you can simply select one that the intended recipient would like, wrap it up, and you're all set. Some good, generic gifts to keep on hand for children are small stuffed animals, toy trucks, action figures and books. The Klutz line of books are always popular with boys and girls. For adults, you may want to stock up on card games, boxes of candy, or gift baskets with hand creams or gourmet coffees.
- Make a quick trip to your favorite local store. If you live in an urban area, make a list of shops that have inexpensive, unique gifts. Then, if you have to make a last-minute trip to the mall, you will already have an idea of where you need to go.
- Know which websites will ship and deliver quickly. Many websites will guarantee next-day delivery if you request it. When you find a site that you like that will ship quickly, bookmark it so you can find it in a hurry if necessary. Overnight delivery is usually the most-expensive shipping option, so use this only as a last resort. Red Envelope is one site that offers a large variety of gifts that are available for next-day delivery.
- E-mail a gift. Some stores and websites offer e-mailable gift certificates. If you need a gift quickly, this can be a great option, because most gift certificates will be e-mailed the same day. You can simply enter the name and e-mail address of your recipient, provide your credit card information, and you're off the hook! GiftCertificates.com is an excellent resource for e-mailable gifts.
- Save Christmas ads and catalogs. When you receive Christmas ads in your local newspaper, or catalogs for nearby stores, store them in a binder. Then, if you are scrambling for a last-minute gift, you can quickly scan through them to find one. As a bonus, you'll even know where to purchase the gift on sale!
If you simply don't have time to shop for a last-minute gift, consider making a plate of cookies or a homemade pie, wrapped up in festive cellophane and tied with a pretty bow. After all, everyone loves to receive a yummy Christmas treat!