There is last-minute Christmas shopping and then there is “Oh shit, it’s 9 pm on Christmas Eve and I haven’t bought anybody anything” shopping.
On Thanksgiving, Christmas seems so far away and it’s so easy to sit back and laugh at all the Black Friday stampeders with their doorbuster deals. As ridiculous as it is to line up at midnight to save a few bucks on a TV, those early birds are probably all sitting back right now sipping hot toddies cozy in the knowledge that all their Christmas shopping was done weeks ago. Meanwhile the rest of us are looking for a Christmas miracle to make presents for our family and friends magically appear.
If you’re reading this, chances are you are really screwed. With most stores closing early on Christmas Eve it can be slim pickings. Fortunately, even in this age of ecommerce everything, there is still the trusty convenience store, drugstore, or corner bodega that never closes. And, with a little imagination, you can find a gift for everyone on your list and still stash it under the tree before Christmas morning.
For Dad: Duct Tape
There isn’t a man alive that wouldn’t be happy to unwrap a few rolls of the silver stuff. The applications of duct tape are truly endless. Having lots on hand will allow your dad to take on all those DIY fix-it projects that will inevitably drive your mom crazy.
For Mom: Spa Day Supplies
Sure, you missed the opportunity to get mom that gift certificate for the hour-long deep tissue and hot stone massage at the fancy spa, but you can still give her the supplies she needs to recreate spa treatments like a facial at home. All drug stores should have some kind of high end cleansers and moisturizers and most will have devices like a sonic skin cleanser. You can also tell mom that you did her a favor because instead of gifting her just one facial, you’re equipping her with the stuff she needs for lots of them. She may not buy it, but at least you tried.
For The Little Brother: Beer
Nothing will make your little bro feel more like he’s arrived into manhood than receiving a sixer from you. Hopefully the days of pounding a 30 rack of Natty Light Ice are behind him, so go for a craft I.P.A., preferably one with a clever story behind it about how its hops are grown in unicorn pastures. That way it will feel more like you are giving a genuine gift and not just grabbing the first beer you see and slapping a bow on it.
For The Girlfriend: Candy And Flowers
This is probably the toughest one to pull off. Your family members are well acquainted with your hopeless procrastination and general slackerness. Your girlfriend is probably familiar as well, but she’s less likely to tolerate it. Still, with the proper phrasing about how “sweet” your lady is, you can give candy—as long as it’s the good kind, don’t try and put a ribbon on a Baby Ruth—and flowers and not get dumped. Just know that you’re going to have a lot of making up to do come Valentine’s Day. And whatever you do, don’t try to pull off the “Dick In A Box” present.
For The Boss: Smartphone Car Charger
Be prepared to spin this gift, because it is going to take a fair amount of sell-through. Obviously, no one is pining for a car charger, but it is a very handy device, placing it squarely in the “need not want” category. But—and here’s where the spin-slash-brown nosing comes in—if you position the charger as a way for your boss to never have to worry about being able to contact you, then you can cast yourself as the employee who’s always ready to take on a task and earn some brownie points. Sure, you’ll end up pulling the “I must have been out of range” excuse when your boss actually does call, but that’s a matter for another time.