Thursday, December 24, 2009

honey gift files...11th hour

okay, so it's christmas eve day...and everyone's done shopping, wrapping, etc. but IF by some chance anyone has a "friend" who still needs to do a little buying, i have some last-minute, mall-free suggestions that don't smack of last-minute gifting.

at the supermarket (most are open until 6 today but closed tomorrow)

gourmet basket (combine a few or all of these items in a basket or nice gift bag)

1 or 2 packages nice pasta
jar of pesto
jar of garlic cloves
tube of tomato paste
nice spice jars of oregano, basil
basil plant (from produce section)
oven mitts/dishtowels from kitchen aisle (can use these to line the basket)


you could do something else really cute with ingredients that bakerella featured recently - take a look here. they're called cowgirl cookies and involve layering the exact ingredients for "cowgirl cookies" into mason jars, which you can get at most supermarkets (on sale right now, since canning season is over).

then the small label (which bakerella gives you a PDF of) affixed to the bottom of the jar tells the recipient to combine the contents of the jar with vanilla extract, milk and butter, and bake. of course you don't have to go with the "cowgirl theme," you can choose whatever colors you want, and use whatever fabric or paper you want to create the motif.
my friend made hers (below) at 6 in the morning on the day she gave them. now THAT's talent. i can just imagine throwing flour and oatmeal into jars at that time. and the best...her male boss, upon receiving his jar, excitedly said "so i just put the whole jar in the oven?" UH OH. better get out the fire extinguisher.

what i like about having this idea in your back pocket is that it's something you could really do for any occasion, and you can really just use different color M&M's to denote valentine's day, christmas, halloween, easter, etc. i've heard of this idea before, but it's never looked so cute and attentive to detail before.

also at the supermarket, you can pick out a magazine your recipient would like and buy them a copy and sign them up for a year's subscription. then you can give them the magazine gift-wrapped with a note telling them they'll be receiving a year's worth of issues on you! this is a GREAT last minute gift idea for all occasions. most supermarkets have decent book sections near the magazines, so there's always that idea too.

the other good find at a supermarket is the floral section. you can easily get a plant or bouquet and be done right then and there. one suggestion i have about taking those gifts up a notch is to remove any sign of mass-production - you don't need for it to LOOK like it came from a supermarket even if it did. my advice is to remove any cheesy tags or sticks with santa on them - those are a dead giveaway.

if the florist isn't there to wrap whatever you're getting in the tissue and ribbon color of your choice, i would buy whatever color you'd like (tissue paper and ribbon) and spruce it up yourself. in most cases, you can just carefully remove the plastic wrap and place the tissue paper inside it, and then rewrap it so you see the tissue through the plastic. it's a much nicer look. see here for some arranging ideas. you could also put the arrangement into a simple vase for a lasting component of the gift.

if you're really looking to kick it up a notch, you could get a flower or plant of the month subscription and put a note inside the flowers or plant you give telling them what they'll be receiving. note: even if the florist isn't there at the time, you can usually get the little florist message cards on the counter. extra note: subscriptions don't have to be for a full year - three or six months is a very lovely gift.

side note: "of the month clubs" are a great option. they have them for pretty much anything and you can do them online at the very last second, just jotting a note in the card about what they're to expect!
at the pharmacy (most are open until 6 today but closed tomorrow)

the best bet at the pharmacy is a spa or beauty themed idea. in my opinion, though, you have to pay attention to that "gift set" look, where something just looks like it all came stitched together for $19.99. even if it does, it doesn't have to look that way, and some careful tweaking can make all the difference.

in the case of the sets that have slippers, robe, neckwrap, etc. i think the key is to remove them from the hard or crinkly plastic package and present them the way you would if you bought each item separately, so in a gift bag or gift box. it immediately makes the gift seem nicer -- so much is in the presentation. same thing with if you decide to go with one of those sets that has all the bubble bath and creams...separate them and pack them as if you bought them separately.

another good thing you can find at drug stores is cosmetic cases - but again, be watchful, as they often come three in a set, attached by small, cheap stitches. in some ways, it's nicer to detach them and just give one or two of them - the largest and the smallest. OR you can give just the largest with some beauty products inside - a couple nail polishes, nail file, hand cream, lip gloss, etc. don't think of it as how much stuff you can pack in, think of it as what would make the most sense as a gift - i always try to think in terms of related items.

you can also achieve the book or magazine gift ideas from above.

all around town

gift certificates are a great option which can be gotten pretty much until the bitter end, as most restaurants are open for christmas eve and christmas day, and would be glad to sell you a gift certificate. a nice lunch or dinner out is a welcome gift to anyone, especially after spending all their money on holiday gifts! you can also do gift certificates online almost anywhere and print them out right then and there and enclose in a card.

wine or liquor - i wrote more extensively about this idea last week, but another good option for last minute.

cold, hard cash - what is there to say, really, other than "yes please"? the best way to give cash is in crisp bills - the bank (most are open today but closed tomorrow) or ATM machines are the best since crumpled bills do not a nice gift make.

and if all you're left with is a convenience store open in your area tomorrow - you can go the scratch-off route, sometimes the flower route, or a visa or mastercard gift card some of them carry (avoid the amex gift cards, as they carry a fee). most convenience stores also have DVD's and some random assortment of phone cases, gadgets and winter warmth accessories. and my other piece of advice - get a head start next year :)

all kidding aside, happy giving and receiving...and now put down the wallet and the blackberry and enjoy the holiday.

photos from,,,,,,,

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin