By Allan Britnell
So, you did it again: You’ve left your holiday shopping to the very last minute, and it’s Christmas Eve. No time to ponder (yet) about how you let this happen. You need to get cracking, pronto. Here are our suggestions for finding last-minute gifts that won’t disappoint – and will save you from spending a bundle on last minute price markups.
Support Local Businesses
At this point, you really do want to try to avoid the malls. If the fact that the nearest parking spot is a five-minute drive away isn’t enough of a deterrent, consider how long the lineups will be inside. The better option is to visit the shops of Main St. or one of the shopping districts in your city. You’ll still face lineups, but at least you won’t need to hail a taxi just to get back to your car.
Sign ‘Em Up
Aside from a few very expensive rush delivery options, you’ve missed the boat for ordering something online to get under the tree. That said, there are online options still available to you. One of my favourite gifts to give – and get – is a magazine subscription. And they’re perfect for the last-minute shopper since sign you can sign someone up for one 24/7. Plan even a tiny bit ahead of time though and you could pick up the current issue from the newsstand for something to put under the tree.
Another option is to sign someone up for an “of the month club” so they get a selection of their favourite treat – beer, wine, chocolate, jam, whatever – delivered to their door 12 times a year. Print off the details of what they’ll be getting and stuff it in an envelope with a card: instant gift!
Be a Midnight Shopper
Most stores have extended hours over the holidays while others – Walmart, we’re looking at you – are open 24 hours a day in the lead-up to Christmas. The really negligent shoppers among us may even be able to get away with picking up gifts on the way to Christmas dinner. Many Starbucks outlets are open on Christmas day, for one. Ditto for movie theatres (think gift certificate rather than stale popcorn). And some flower shops cater to those in desperate need of a gift. Worst-case scenario, you’re looking for remnants in the convenience store.
Plan Ahead for 2013
Did you find the harried, last-minute rush to be simultaneously stressful and disappointing? Then make an effort to avoid a repeat experience next year – you don’t even need to mark anything in your calendar. Well before U.S. Thanksgiving rolls around in late November, there will be plenty of hype about the upcoming Black Friday shopping sales. Add in Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday – a newer initiative started by American Express – sandwiched in between, and you’ll have plenty of reminders that it’s time to start your holiday shopping.