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How to reduce holiday stress

How to buy last-minute Christmas gifts

With storms ravishing most of the northern parts of the country, the mid-West, and the Rocky Mountain states, the best advice on buying last-minute Christmas gifts is probably calling your favorite catalog company and requesting express mail service.

Internet shopping at this point is risky. Even though delivery by Christmas day is promised, Internet companies may miss the date. While you could get a refund, you’ll be without a gift for your special someone.

If you’re able to get out of your house, make a list to save time. If you’re able to buy three gifts at one store, you won’t waste time going from store to store. Try shopping at local stores rather than the malls because malls are likely to be crowded. Put stores on your list that offer unique and inexpensive gifts. Don’t expect to find popular, big-ticket items this late in the season. You may, however, be able to find items such as Christmas ornaments or decorations offered at substantial discounts.  

Think about whom on your list might like a basket of gift items. Chocolate, coffee, and soaps and shampoos made without harsh chemicals are some of the choices available.

If you leave your Christmas shopping until Christmas Eve, start early in the day. Many stores close early, so if you begin at 5 p.m. you may be out of luck.

If all else fails, buy a gift card. Be sure to read and understand the terms and conditions of any cards purchased as described in my article “Beware: Gift Cards May Not Be What They Seem” on Boomer411.

For last-minute gifts items you can make at home – such as babysitting for your friends’ children, making a collage of photos, or offering a beauty treatment – see the article “Last-minute Christmas Gifts” on allthingchristmas.com.

Copyright 2008, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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