10 Last Minute Shopping Tips

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.

Not true.

  1. 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]
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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)
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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).
  10. 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.

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26 responses to “10 Last Minute Shopping Tips

  1. Another idea for the regifting closet:

    Last year we wrapped up 21 gifts that were in my S-I-L’s regifting closet and did the secret santa thing…you know where you steal each other’s gifts. You should have seen the 20 yr old boys fighting over the “scented nylon rose petals” that had lost their scent in the last millenium. It was fun and Cathy got rid of a lot of junk.

  2. Deb – We do that gift stealing thing with our work group — they call it Chinese gift exchange. I don’t know why. It’s totally politically incorrect of course. Someone got shelf paper this year and someone else got a stinky, dusty candle (it may have been made from bacon).

    Monkey – Really! Nothing says “I love you” or even “I’m incredibly fond of you” or “I want to bed you” like a bottle of hootch.

    Loth – I really am, aren’t I? It makes you wonder why I didn’t win that blog contest, doesn’t it?

  3. Or forget all about this consumerism driven orgy of spending. Remember the real meaning of Christmas, and if you remember Jesus didn’t give any gifts, he just lay around getting. That’s my plan to be more like Jesus and accept adoration whenever offered. And in case there is not enough offered I’ll get some of that booze for myself to enjoy.

  4. I give to the kids and that’s it. Parents know it, family knows it, we’ve stopped long ago to give gifts to each other. Much easier to travel that way too 🙂 I don’t have to carry one extra piece of luggage because of it.

    The cat, on the other hand, is very, no make that extremely generous with me and she does all her shopping throughout the year so no mad dash to find me the perfect thing, ditto for me to her. LOL

    I never liked the stealing gift thing. I participated in it once and couldn’t see the point of it, it seems so… I dunno, pointless?

  5. This post is the PERFECT example of why you were gypped on the vote. This is so hysterical – a top five favorite XUP post for me for sure!!

    Gotta go make candles now, since I’ve finally found a legitimate reason to justify eating ten pounds of bacon. *BURP*

  6. I hope to god you were joking about number 4.

    I miss when I was little and anything I drew became the greatest present anyone got.

    Does sarcasm increase with age? =P

  7. I just found a bunch of cat hair under one of our cabinets. I’m going to ball that shit up and make an ornament out of it for some lucky family member. Next, bacon candles. Mmm…bacon.

  8. And remember, if you have “regifting trunk” to never regift something to the person who gave it to you. It seems that doesn’t go over too well.

    Post-its with who orginally gave you the gift are always a good idea.

    Chances are slim that you’ll regift to the person who originally gave the gift to the person who gave it to you, so you don’t have to worry much about that.

  9. Or be lazy like me and have a great wife who loves to shop (for us) and just be agreeable.

    I usually only shop for one person, the Queen. She is EASY to shop for and I run out of money before I run out of idea for gifts.

    trust me, I really enjoy shopping, but it’s way cooler to let someone else do it. and she’s awesome at doing it early, finding all the sales, shopping on-line or at off times to avoid any type of aggravation.

    Merry Christmas XUP
    and a M. Xmas to everyone out there!

  10. Bandobras – Good luck with that baby jeezus thing. And what are you going to do with all that Frankincense and Myrrh? The gold, okay…

    Lebowski – Can I be on your Christmas list, please? Best shopping strategy ever, dude.

    UA – Cats are awesome shoppers. I always get exactly the right thing from my cat, too.

    Mo – There’s nothing that says “festive spirit” better than liquor.

    Lesley – Bacon candles are a win-win gift for sure. They really are as much fun to give as they are to receive.
    And really, I WAS totally gypped, wasn’t I? What’s this prowoman/prolife stuff anyway? Who here isn’t prowoman?

    Aziza – I was joking about #4 as much as I was joking about all the others — no more, no less. I think you’re still young enough to get away with giving people poems you wrote as gifts…

    Linsey – Yes! Cat fur ornaments. Perfect. Blend it with some dustballs and maybe some of that crap in your bathtub drain and there’s enough to go around for all your loved oned and friends.

    Jazz – I’ve kind of discovered that re-giftables are usually from someone’s re-gifting trunk anyway. They’re gifts no one wants and no one ever remembers giving anyone, so you’re pretty safe. But if someone notices that it’s the same gift they gave you last year, say “I KNOW!! It was so great I gave everyone on my list one this year!”

    Reky – Thanks for the Xmas wishes. And I’m glad you solved your gift shopping issues the “pass the buck” way. Also very clever. Have a great holiday — but don’t forget to keep visiting the blog because I don’t think I’ll be able to stop writing just because it’s Christmas.

  11. I’m especially fond of #10….

    Although #1 is just too much, I am now busy making a list of imaginary charities.

    Great list.

  12. I bought bottles of wine from a winery that doesn’t sell at the LCBO. By accident, I found out the 4 extra people coming for Xmas dinner don’t drink. At all. So I have lots of wine to drink. And 4 more presents to buy.

    And bacon.

  13. Nat – Thanks. I only hope I’ve been able to relieve some of the holiday stress

    Jo – Yes! See! Number 2 is always welcome and important.

    Violetsky – Well, I don’t feel too sorry for you for having all that extra wine; but just because people don’t drink doesn’t mean they can’t use a bottle of wine. They could keep it for company … unless they’re recovering alcoholics, then maybe they shouldn’t have booze in the house. Make them some fudge.

    CP – I’m not knocking your fudge at all. In fact I was thinking of adding to the list, but “chocolate and evaporated milk” just doesn’t conjure up the same hilarity.

    Bob – You could try having a photo taken while sucking on a pipe. No one could fail to look wise with a pipe in his/her face. Trust me.

  14. Oh that is true, dinky poems warm hearts and take 5 minutes. Although when I receive well written poems from my friends whom I know spent a long time on them, I do feel it is a much better gift than anything material they could have given me.

    When I had to give birthday presents to my friends before I had any money of my own I usually managed to take something of my own rather than bothering my parents with shopping for something- a beanie baby, a bottle of nail polish, a pen with a feathery end, anything that would make a group of 10 year old girls say “ooh ahh”.

  15. I’m probably too late for this suggestion, since most of you probably already have your ornaments placed on the pre-lit Douglas Fir from Wal-mart. However, if you want to give something that says “I care,” give the gift of dough ornaments ( http://www.essortment.com/all/christmastreeo_riph.htm ). Basically, it’s like making cookies, except you leave out the sugar and bake in an ornament hanger. It’ll make your tree look like a Martha Steward creation. I made these ornaments with my sister as a wee lad, and I can’t get the fun out of my mind, even thirty years later. Something tells me therapy is in order.