|20 last-minute (and cheap) gift
Go to a bookstore and look through
the racks for something suitable. For example, you could get Better Homes and
Gardens (24 issues for $22) for the neighbor constantly weeding the lawn, or more
specifically, Herb Quarterly (4 issues for $20) for the aunt who swears by herbal
remedies. The friend constantly quoting films might like Movieline (12 for $10).
The high school teacher who dreams of an African adventure would love National
Geographic ($34 for 12 issues) and the sister with fashion flair would love Vanity
Fair (12 issues for $18).
Buy the current issue, tear out the gift subscription
form and send it in. Then wrap the magazine and include a note saying "I
wanted to give you something that would last all year so I got you a subscription."
rather than a magazine, you could send something more tangible like a membership
to Fruit of the Month available at Harry and David or Gourmet Entrée of
the Month from Omaha Steaks -- if you know someone who likes one of those things
an awful lot. But be warned, these gifts are easy but not cheap ($50 to $350,
depending on the number of months).
Food is a great holiday gift for families and people who like
to entertain. If it's too late to bake, you can still buy chocolates, cookies,
cake, wine or a baked ham at the grocery or specialty store for under $20. A box
of chocolates or cookies can be wrapped in paper and ribbons. A boxed cake can
be given as-is or with a bow, and wine can be put in a wine bag or simply have
ribbons tied to it's neck. Slap a bow on a cold -- not frozen -- ham and deliver
wouldn't love framed photos of their family, especially their grandchildren? Grab
a cute picture, then head to almost any store -- Target, Hallmark, Wal-Mart, heck,
even Walgreens has picture frames. While you're there, grab some candles and ornaments
for other people you forgot and for stocking stuffers.
nongrandparents, you need the right photo. If you have a photo of the recipient's
child, spouse or pet, a framed picture is a great gift.
you have a little time, rush a photo to your local Kinko's. They can turn it into
a calendar or ornament in 24 hours for $10 to $25. Call ahead to make sure they
can fill your order in time.
Small potted herbs, like basil, thyme, oregano and parsley are
easy to maintain and can live in a windowsill. They would be perfect for apartment
dwellers or anyone who likes to cook. You can buy them for less than $10 at plant
nurseries, stores that carry gardening supplies (like Wal-Mart and Home Depot)
and even some grocery stores. Get an attractive pot to put it in -- the plain
terra-cotta pots are pretty and cost less than $3.