Everyone except you.
You haven’t done anything to get ready. You have no presents, no ideas and no money again this year. You’re basically screwed, right?
Don’t despair! You don’t have to spend Christmas in the doghouse, just because you’re lazy and broke. Borrow some of these last minute gift ideas:
1) For the book lover: Does someone on your gift list always have his or her nose in a book? Have you priced hardcovers lately? They can be $30 and up – ridiculous! Trot down to the local library, check out the newest bestseller and wrap it up. When the recipient opens your gift and looks bewildered, start on a long-winded diatribe about what an outrageous assault on the environment it is to cut down defenseless trees for books, and the importance of sharing resources. Add a bit about the great history of Carnegie libraries in America and by the end of your presentation the book lover will be feeling vaguely guilty for ever having bought one. Be a Christmas angel and remind the recipient they’ll incur overdue fines after 2 weeks, so they should read fast!
2) For the wine lover: With your Annie Green Springs tastes, you have neither the budget nor the knowledge to please a true wine connoisseur. Don’t even try. Take a card and write, “Here’s a little something to toast the season”. Wrap up a box containing …2 pieces of dry toast. I suggest using whole wheat bread since wine snobs also tend to be health food snobs. They’ll look like poor sports if they even hint that they would prefer a real gift to your clever gag. (Thrifty suggestion: Cut a square of wrapping paper, fold in half and use this as a card. You can write on the inside and it matches the package for an expensive, coordinated look.)
3) For that special woman: Is there anything a woman loves more than a truly spectacular piece of expensive jewelry? Since THAT’s not going to happen this Christmas, you can still score points by hitting her other hot button: a love of schmaltzy romance. Just write in a card, “You own the key to my heart.” Wrap up a small, jewelry-sized box in which you’ve placed…a key. Any old key will do –could be the key to your locker at the gym. Make sure it’s not your car key, though, as it might be awkward to have to ask for it back at the end of the evening.
4) For your kid: Every parent has experienced this. You get your kid a Suzy Homemaker kitchen, or Little Tykes workbench and they run right by the big, expensive toy to play with the box. Encourage their creative spirit with an Imagination Kit: an assortment of cardboard boxes, rolling paper and toilet paper tubes, rubber bands and other stuff that you have around the house. Pontificate about the importance of creative play, developing building and imagination skills and getting back to basics. This will confuse the in-laws so they can’t be sure if you really believe all that stuff, or you’re just a cheap Scrooge.
5) For the kid’s teacher: Teachers get so much lame junk: ornaments, bubble bath and candles, they could open a gift store. What do they really, really want? Some relief from the unrelenting torment of having little monsters like your kid in their class.
Make up several coupons “Good for one day without Johnny”. On days when your offspring has been acting even more like the spawn of Satan than usual, Teacher can send one of the coupons home with the kid. You promise to keep him home “sick” the next day, thereby giving Teacher a much-needed break. Be careful not to give so many coupons that all his days off catch the attention of the health department or truancy officer.
6) For the brother-in-law: Your lush of a brother-in-law is always getting in trouble with the po-lice. What a hoot when he opens your gift in front of the whole family to reveal a stack of “get out of jail free” cards, taken from a Monopoly game. Even funnier if you could be be there when he tries to use one when he gets stopped, weaving down the road on the way home from the family party.
7) For your pets: What dog doesn’t love a rousing game of “fetch”? Simply gather up a couple of sticks (not too fat), about 1-1/2 feet long, and tie them up with a jaunty, red ribbon. For the cat, smush a page from the Sunday funnies into a ball, wrap in twine or rubber bands, and you’re ready for hours of pouncing play. (These also make thoughtful gifts for the dog or cat lover on your list.)
With my helpful hints, a little bit of cleverness can take the place of true thoughtfulness, money and any real effort on your part.
Merry Christmas, and good luck!