Like many real people of my acquaintance, The Uncouth Heathen finds herself in the precarious position of not having finished (or even started) Christmas shopping. And Christmas is exactly one week away.
Those of you in the same boat are probably thinking your only option is to rush to a mall now and fight the crowds for whatever leftover crap is rolling around the aisles.
- Dig out that lovely Christmas stationery you got from your Secret Santa years ago. Use it to type up a bunch of cards saying: A Donation Has Been Made in Your Name to [insert charity, real or imaginary, of your choice]
- It’s a day ending in “y” the holidays so you’re going to be going to the liquor store anyway — why not just buy everyone liquor? Liquor is very festive and always appreciated at this stressful heart-warming time of year.
- Dig through your trunkful of gifts from Christmases Past that you haven’t ever taken out of their boxes and wrap them up. Some cheerful paper and a festive colourful bow will give the illusion that the gift was chosen with care. If you don’t have a re-gift trunk, you might want to consider it for next year.
- Make some Christmas candles. Candles are very romantic and thoughful gifts and quick and easy to make. All you need are some pine needles, some empty toilet paper rolls, used dental floss for wicks and lots of bacon. Cook the bacon, eat it and pour the fat into the toilet paper rolls. Add some colourful pine needles, a hunk of dental floss and stick in the fridge for a while. When it’s hard, tie a nice red festive bow around your fragrant home-made Christmas candle and off you go.
- Nothing is more popular than self-help books. Of course, you don’t have time to write and publish a whole book, but you do have time for a “How To” booklet. Just download some good instructional articles from the internet and bind them with some nice festive ribbon. Print off a digital photo of yourself, looking wise, for the cover. You can personalize each booklet by thinking about the greatest failing of each person on your gift list and addressing the “how to” advice accordingly. (e.g.: How to be a Better Parent; How to Say No and Save Big on Penicillen; How to Play with Children Appropriately)
- Tell everyone that you’re taking a stance against the crass commercialism of the season and will only be celebrating it by enjoying the company of your near and dear ones. Don’t let this stop you from accepting gifts, though. Be humble, but gracious like you’re doing them a favour (just this one last time) by accepting their gifts.
- Fortunately, you’re a procrastinator, so you haven’t put yourself on the Do Not Call list for telemarketers yet so just sign up all your loved ones for whatever the next phone call offers.
- Cash is good, especially if you’re shopping for young people. Most of them are unfamiliar with cash, so it will be a novelty for them. Make sure you write up a few instructions on how to use it.
- Make fudge. Who doesn’t love fudge? If you don’t know how to make fudge, fudge it. Fudge can be anything sweet mashed together into a square shape. The dollar store offers a lot of cheap knock off chocolate bars like “Oh Harvey!” or “Kite Cat” or “Knickers”. Melt them all down in a big pot, pour into a big square pan and refrigerate for a while. Then cut into little squares, wrap in cellophane and tie a festive bow around the whole thing. (Hint: A few shots of Jack Daniels into the pot right at the end, will make your fudge smell exotic).
- If all else fails, give the gift of faux music. Find some album covers online of bands and singers everybody hates. Glue them into an empty CD case. Wrap in cellophane and glue down the edges. No one will every open the case to notice there isn’t a CD inside and even if they do they’ll be relieved.
Of course, if you’d listened to me in the first place and done all your shopping online ages ago like I did, you wouldn’t be in this predicament.