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Advice for the procrastinator

Just remember these four tips to weather the last-minute holiday shopping hustle...<br />

It’s Dec. 24. You settle in front of the tube with a cider to watch It’s A Wonderful Life for the umpteenth time, glance at the perfectly packaged gifts under the tree and suddenly get the feeling you’re forgetting something.

Don’t fear, present procrastinator!

Just remember these four tips to weather the last-minute holiday shopping hustle...

Prime for lines

Lineups amid your heel-dragging brethren can encourage public fits of frustration due to the claustrophobic combination of chipper Christmas music, flashing lights and other latecomers inadvertently touching you. So zen out by bringing a rousing book (have you scoured Metro’s holiday book picks yet?) or iPod to tune out the lot. Podcasts from programs like CBC’s Definitely Not The Opera or NPR’s This American Life will make you happy by making light of the human absurdity you’re surrounded by.

Be thoughtfully thoughtless

Sure, gift cards aren’t the most attentive festive offerings, but they’re easy, often have no expiry date and save you from picking a present the recipient may completely hate, thereby ruining your relationship forever all because you waited so long to shop. Plus, it doesn’t take much to personalize a plastic rectangle. Consider what the giftee likes (makeup? books? power tools?) and pick a shop with a suffocating selection of it. Buy a greeting card, write a schmaltzy message expressing your love, and seal with gift card inside.

When all else fails, remember the two Fs…

Fragrances and full refund! Perfume and cologne provide a perfect outlet to buy your way out of Christmas neglect. Go expensive: Black Orchid by Tom Ford or Stella by Stella McCartney for ladies; Tabarome by Creed or p (Pi Neo) by Givenchy for guys. If you buy a box set, crack it open and wrap items individually to mask your embarrassingly obvious inclination toward a deal. But whether buying an eau de toilette or toiletries (don’t gift toiletries), always ask for the store refund policy and/or obtain a gift receipt. This lets the recipient return your present and get what they really wanted in the first place.

... Unless the stores are closed

If you waited this long, you’ve really only got two options left: The Internet (thanks Al Gore) or corner store cigars and scratch-and-wins. For some reason, not everybody appreciates the latter. Instead, use the series of tubes to find a gift you don’t need to wait for in the mail. Magazine subscriptions, e-coupons for music and book downloads and getaway bookings are easy point-and-click buys and don’t even require wrapping. Simply pen a note proclaiming your thought­ful­ness, emphasize how your gift is so superior the recipient must wait to get it, and watch the joy spread across their face on Christmas morning.

 
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