Holiday Gift Ideas for Last-Minute Shoppers

Caught in the last-minute shopping rush? You're not alone. Sources say that almost 30 percent of people wait until the last few days before the holidays to take to the streets, trying to find the perfect present. Others find themselves in the difficult position of receiving a gift they weren't expecting and having nothing to give in return.

Have a gift box ready.

The best way to prepare for unexpected gifts is to have a fairly large supply of general items that can be given to pretty much anybody. A good way to do this is to separate presents into three large groups: women, men and children. Some good, general presents for women include scented candles, bubble bath salts, or a small jewelry box. For men, a pocket knife, photo frame, or wine bottle stopper can usually work. For kids, think of general games that work well for both genders such as puzzles, construction sets, or drawing/painting kits.

Head to the drugstore.

Your local pharmacy may be the last place in your mind, but the truth is that large chains such as CVS and Walgreens usually sell a variety of gift items that can make great holiday gifts. From candles to gift baskets to DVDs and bath sets, this is usually the best place to head to if you're shopping for a present at 11pm or if you want a good variety of choices but can't afford the time to head to the mall.

Let them choose their on present.

Gift cards may not be the most personal present, but it's usually a good alternative if you're running out of ideas or don't have the time to go shopping. To make it more personal, get a certificate or gift card to a restaurant or spa rather than just a clothing store. Or get a season pass for the recipient's favorite sports team or amusement park. These types of passes can usually be bought online and printed right at home, so they're a great solution if you are really pressed for time.

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