Gift Certificates: These are among my favorite gifts because they are, literally, the gift of choice. Nowadays, you can buy gift certificates for just about everything from electronics to cooking classes. Give grandma a gift certificate to her favorite restaurant, and your brother and new sister-in-law some vouchers to the movies. They will love the fact that you know them so well. If you’re really pressed for time, send an e-certificate—it’s sent right to the recipient’s e-mail right after you purchase them. You don’t even have to get off of the couch.
Books: There are books written on every subject, and if you know the recipient well, they make great gifts. Choose a coffee-table book of their favorite photographer, or the autobiography of one of their idols. Journals are great for a friend who loves to write.
Wine: Some of the best gifts are those you can consume. Wine makes a great gift, and comes in many flavors and price ranges. If you’re not sure which wine to choose, ask a wine-store employee. Most are extremely knowledgeable and can tell you the best selection for your price range. Just make sure to stay away from anything that comes in a box or jug.
Warmth: Quite a few gifts fall under this category, and all of them are greatly appreciated. Soft blankets make wonderful wraps during those cold winter months. Slippers are great for keeping chilly toes cozy. For a nontraditional twist, grab a pair of crocheted Mary-Janes. And don’t forget about hats, scarves or gloves. They come in a variety of styles and colors and you can find them just about anywhere.
Candles: You can never have too many candles, which are as functional as they are decorative. For that friend who always has a candle burning, purchase a couple of colorful ones and a decorative candle plate for next to nothing. Look for candles in various shapes, such as spheres. But be careful buying scented candles. What smells delicious to you may stink to your friend.
This short list should help you finish off your Christmas shopping with minimal effort. Now you can sit back, enjoy your rum-laced eggnog, and swear you’ll start your shopping earlier next year.