Last Minute Gift Ideas

11233821_SIt’s less than a week until everyone unwraps presents under the tree – are you finished with your shopping? If not, here are some gift ideas to make these next few days easier.

Shop non-standard stores: Department and discount stores are crazy busy this time of year. Instead, how about checking out gift boutiques in smaller shopping centers? Consignment and antique shops have a wonderful collection of gift possibilities and are much less crowded than other stores this time of year.

Give an experience: Tickets to a play or concert, or a gift-certificate for the play or concert of their choice, can be easily arranged online with minimal effort. If you make sure your choice suits the taste of the recipient, this can be a truly special gift.

Give a service: A day at a spa, a home cleaning service, or a catered meal at home can be a real treat for busy families. If money is tight, how about offering to chauffer the kids on their carpools for a couple of days to give parents a little time off, or babysitting to give them a chance to get away for an evening?

Gift certificates: This may seem like a lazy gift, but you can make it special. For example, give a teenager a set of gift certificates that add up to a nice date – movie tickets and dinner at a special restaurant for example. Others may prefer an iTunes gift certificate allows them to buy their own music online. Look for opportunities to encourage people to try a new restaurant that you particularly like – combine a gift certificate with a copy of the menu and write comments in the margin to indicate your favorite dishes.

If you’ve procrastinated, use your imagination instead of creating stress for yourself, and you may find that this year’s gifts are the best ever!

Edible Holiday Gifts

One of the nicest gifts for friends and family is something you make yourself. This year, how about baking some holiday treats?

Cakeballs – a new baking craze, make lovely gifts.  These are made to look like holiday ornaments. Whether on a stick or just piled in a bowl, these provide a different kind of treat; one tasty, sweet bite.  For extra fun, set these upright in a cup filled with holiday candies.

To make your gift extra special, how about giving it on a plate made of holiday candy? This little tray was created by setting peppermint hard candies together on a piece of parchment paper set on a baking dish, and baking for a short time in a low oven just until the pieces melt into each other. Let cool and then gently peel off. This also works with candy canes and peppermint sticks. Just be sure to use with hard surface treats. Moist ones will melt your dish!

Even if you’re not a skilled baker, treats such as chocolate-dipped pretzels can make a great gift. You can find baskets and other suitable containers at dollar stores and cake specialty shops. Whatever you decide to make, gifts like these are as much fun to assemble as they are to give!