Last Minute Gift Giving

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It’s already December and the holidays are just around the corner.  Have you finished buying for everyone on your gift list yet?  If you’re like most people, the answer to that is no!  In fact, many people haven’t even started shopping.  However, this is no cause for panic.  There is still time to do your last minute gift shopping and there are plenty of local businesses who are here to help you!

On-line Shopping

When faced with last minute shopping, many people turn to the internet and it’s easy to see why.  You can do it at home in your pajamas after the kids have gone to bed and don’t have to fit it into your already busy schedule.  However, if you are thinking about doing some shopping online, remember that anything you purchase from out of state (or out of the country) will not do anything to help support your local economy.  In addition, the customer service at many online stores is not reliable, which can make it difficult if your shipment is delayed, you receive the wrong merchandise or if the recipient would like to make an exchange or return.  If you really want to purchase some gifts online, check out some locally owned stores that have websites you can purchase from.

“Our website is a full service website, so you can shop, buy and ship online 24/7 from the comfort of your own home,” explains Sarah Allison with Hallow Candle Co. “We also have gift cards available online.”

Ashlie Hadden with Embellish says, “Our website is not set up for e-commerce, however, I would encourage customers to check out our Facebook page to get previews of some of the merchandise.”  By checking out merchandise beforehand, you can make your shopping trip much quicker since you already know what you want.

Tips on Shopping

Just because you don’t have much time to get your shopping done doesn’t mean you can’t still fit it into your schedule.  Here are a few ideas:

–Go shopping on weekdays.  Most people will be trying to get their shopping done on the weekends or after work, so you’ll be able to avoid the rush and the lines if you’re able to go during the day.

–Get a sitter for an evening.  If you have kids, especially younger ones, you may find it difficult to haul them to the busy stores during the holiday shopping season.  Consider having grandma and grandpa, a friend or a sitter watch them for an evening so you can wrap up the rest of your shopping without having to worry about losing your kids in the crowd!

–Make a list.  Lists aren’t just for Santa!  If you want to be your most efficient, make sure you have a list in hand before you head out the door to complete your shopping.  You don’t want to set aside time and spend a few hours completing your shopping only to return home and realize you forgot someone.

–“Wear comfortable shoes,” suggests Tiffany Baustert with Aesthetics by Tiffany.  There’s nothing worse than trying to run through the mall or from store to store with aching feet and blisters.  Wear an outfit that’s comfortable, too, to make your shopping as painless as possible!

–“Bring a friend along,” adds Tiffany.  Shopping friends are always good for second opinions (especially if they personally know some of the people you are shopping for) and for helping you carry bags and keeping you company!  Standing in endless lines is always more bearable if you have someone to chat with while you wait.  You might as well catch up with a friend while you shop.  It’s a good reminder that the season is about being with those you care about in addition to gifts!

–Shop local!  Remember that when you’re shopping at locally owned stores, you are most often working with those who are personally invested in the business (most often, the owner is there a majority of the time).  It’s just natural that you will get better customer service from locally owned stores and you will be able to build a relationship with them that will make the gift shopping experience more rewarding.  Of course, shopping locally also has the benefit of supporting our local economy, something that is important all year long!

–Listen! Although it may be too late for this tip for this year, it’s something that is never too early to begin doing for next year.  As you spend time with your friends and family next year, make sure you are listening to them.  Are they saying they really need new clothes?  That they wish they had better cookwear?  That they really love the new fragrance they smelled when out shopping?  Make notes of these little comments and you’ll be well on your way to developing your gift list for the next holiday season!  While many of us ask for gift ideas from our friends and loved ones, wouldn’t it be extra special to not have to ask and just know what they’d like?  Think of how surprised your friend will be to open her gift and find that necklace she loved back when you were shopping together in July!  It just takes a little more attention throughout the year to make next year’s gift giving a snap.

–Buy a few of the same item.  If you find something you really love and that you know would be great for a few different people on your list, don’t hesitate to buy two or three of them.  You might even get a discount for doing so!  It’s likely that many people on your list won’t be opening gifts at the same time (or they may not even know each other), so you don’t have to worry about them wondering why they received the exact same gift as someone else.

Last Minute Gift Ideas

Just because the season is almost upon us does not mean you can’t still pick out the perfect gift for that special someone on your list!  Here are some suggestions.

Gifts for the Home

“We have products in a range of categories and price ranges,” says Ashlie Hadden with Embellish, “so even if you’re just beginning your shopping, we can help you check everyone off the list!  Items range from stocking stuffer items like candles and body products that are great last-minute gifts for anyone on your list (think babysitters, teachers, etc.) to apparel, outerwear and décor for wives or any lady on your list.  Scarves, jewelry, candles, magnets, and kitchen accessories will be my other go-to items for my last minute shopping.  Our staff has been trained on helping assemble the best gift combinations for everyone on your list this year.”

“At Hallow Candle Co., we have pre-made baskets ready to go filled with great products that anyone would love,” states Sarah Allison with Hallow Candle Co. For smaller gifts, we have a wide selection of individual products, and our friendly staff can assist you with picking out the perfect gift.  Best of all,  Hallow  Candle Co carries gift wrap in a variety of sizes, prices, and styles – so no matter how late you’re running we’ll have the gift finished and ready for you!  For small last minute gifts, a fun Hallow Car Freshener or bar of goats milk soap is great for anyone, and for medium sized gifts we have lots of great jewelry, hair accessories and a line of reed diffusers to choose from.”

Framed art work or photographs are another great gift idea for the home.  If you can get your hands on some beautiful family photographs of your family or friends, having them professional framed makes a tasteful and impressive gift that the recipient is likely to cherish for years to come.  You can also consider getting shadowboxes made with important memorabilia, such as items from a veteran’s military service, mementos from your childhood to give to your sister or something similar that will bring back good memories and be a truly cherished gift.

Pampering Gifts

“I’m a big fan of all the Lollia products we have in stock,” says Ashlie Hadden with Embellish.  These include bubble baths, hand creams and more.  “They are my go-to gift items this year and are so easy to pick up for last minute holiday gifts.  They are always a big hit and all my recipients end up asking for more!”

Tiffany Baustert with Aesthetics by Tiffany says, “My gift cards are available in $25, $50 and $100 denominations.”  These are perfect for any of her services, which include microdermabrasion treatments, Novalash (eyelash extensions) services and a number of different facial options.  These are perfect gifts for those on your list who never take the time to pamper themselves and who you want to give the gift of relaxation and beauty to!

Clothes and Accessories

What girl on your list wouldn’t love a great outfit from a local boutique under the tree this year?  There are a number of locally owned boutiques in the area who would be more than happy to help you pick out the perfect gift for the fashionista on your list.  If you know the person’s size, you can get a full outfit complete with pants and a top or a dress with matching boots.  If you’re not confident on size, stick with items like jewelry, scarves, ponchos or other selections that don’t have to be the exact fit.  Of course, you can also get a gift certificate to a boutique and let the recipient come in and choose their own outfit for the new year!

While you’re out taking a look at what the local boutiques have to offer this year, don’t forget to pick something out for yourself!  With all of the parties and family get-togethers that take place during the holidays, it’s always nice to show up in something new and fun!  Think fur vests, knee-high boots, chunky sweaters, skinny jeans and tops with lots of holiday bling!

Edible Gifts

Who wouldn’t love some yummy edible gifts this year?  Treats are great to pair with other gifts, to give to clients or to stick into stockings or give away to guests who come to your home during the holidays.  “Last minute gifts are not a problem,” states Mary Miller with Totally Nuts! “We offer a variety of gift packs, both premade and custom, which are sealed and decorated.  All you have to do is add a card.  In addition to our gift packs, we can assemble a mixture of fruits and nuts in our traditional cone packaging or you can bring in your own container and fill it for you.  For those who can’t have sugar, we also offer sugar-free cinnamon-roasted almonds and pecans.  Of course, gift cards are also available all year round.”

“We make shopping easy,” says Kris Hall with Smoking Gun Jerky.  “Gift baskets can be chosen from stock selections or you can put together within any price range.  We also have gift certificates and our jerky makes great stocking stuffers.  Each jerky is such a personalized gift item.  With over 30 flavors to choose from, you can select “hot” for your spice loving friends or a sweet and mild variety for others.  We also carry the traditional flavors for those you are unsure of and this is a great healthy snack food for dieters or those with special diet restrictions such as gluten-free or low calorie needs.  You can shop online and can call us to order gift baskets, gift certificates or just stop in and we can make a quick gift suggestion to help you find the gifts you need quickly.”

Creating a gift with food is very easy and there aren’t many people who wouldn’t love a gift like this.  “We have freshly made jerky that is always a hit,” says Kris.  “We can also put together gift baskets with other Nebraska-made products that we carry in the store.  Items include our own jerky marinade for those who make their own jerky, salsas, spreads, roasted nuts, beef sticks, rubs and a growing line of BBQ sauces.  Not only are these products great gifts for the men on your list, but we have found that a big percentage of our customers are women who are buying for themselves, so our products make a great gift for everyone, kids included!”

Popcorn tins and tins filled with chocolate covered potato chips are also easy to give gifts.  These are perfect for Grandpa or to just bring along to family get-togethers so everyone can munch on them while watching the game or while waiting for the holiday meal to be done.  You’ll be the most popular person at the party if you show up with a few of these for everyone to share!

Food gifts are also great for corporate gifts.  You don’t want to forget your valued clients this year and gifts of food are great for last minute gift giving because you don’t want to purchase too early anyway or they won’t be fresh.  The key to giving edible gifts to clients is to deliver them in person when possible (this may not work for out of town clients, but you can certainly take an afternoon off and deliver to your local clients).  This gives you a chance to talk to your clients in person and thank them for all their business this year.

“Don’t forget about your pets this year,” Mary Miller adds.  “This year we are adding homemade doggie biscuits for our four-legged friends.”  Gifts for pets are great not only for your own family’s pets, but also for those on your list who are especially into your pets.  If you’re going to a holiday celebration at the home of someone who has pets, it’s always a nice gesture to bring them a little treat for the holidays.

Consider Shopping Re-Sale or Consignment Shops

Many of us have shopped at re-sale or consignment shops for ourselves, but don’t really think about shopping them for holiday gifts as well.  “We have a lot of great gifts,” says Jane Powell with Cause for Paws.  “We have women’s and juniors clothes, purses, jewelry, items for the home, holiday items (including nativities, snowmen, reindeer, ornaments, dishes and centerpieces), items for pets (clothing, Christmas items, leashes, carriers, bed) and we carry gift cards if you are unsure what to buy.”

“We are all so busy during the holidays that I think it’s easier to shop at small local boutiques with easy parking and helpful staff for gift ideas,” adds Sarah Gauger with omt! divine women’s resale.  “Need ideas?  There is always someone close by (probably the owner) to assist you.  At omt! we have many new accessory items to complement our resale fashion.  We’ve been choosing gift ideas for months and can’t wait to show you our favorites!  I like small gift ideas that give comfort and warmth.  We have great holiday bling, fun striped fingerless gloves and lots of scarves.  My favorite gift ideas are the Bee Bars, a solid lotion bar in a fun gift tin.  It’s made from shea butter and beeswax, lanolin and cocoa butter.  Yummy scents are sweet almond, lavender and spring meadow.”

“When you shop at Cause for Paws, you are not only getting great quality merchandise at a great price, but you are also supporting local and Nebraska animal charities as well,” states Jane Powell with Cause for Paws.  “We also provide free gift wrapping, personal shopping and a relaxed shopping atmosphere.”

“While not everyone thinks of resale for gift giving, green gifts are gaining acceptance,” concludes Sarah Gauger with omt! divine women’s resale.  “We’ve done it in my family for decades!  Besides, it’s nice to pick up a cozy cashmere sweater for yourself!”

Collectibles

Jeff Mumby with Jeff’s Collectibles says, “Collectible cars, toys and trucks are great for women to buy for their husbands and boyfriends.  I offer custom made, die-cast toys, mostly revolving around the construction or truck business.  You can purchase off my website and either have it shipped or pick it up by appointment, so it takes just as much time or less than shopping online at a national site.  Surprise your husband or boyfriend with something unusual this year by getting them a die-cast toy.”

Gifts of Fitness

Got someone on your list who wants to get in shape or enjoys trying new things to stay in shape?  Why not consider getting them a membership to a gym or a workout package for lessons in martial arts or another form of exercise?  This is a great gift for siblings or children and you can make it even more special by getting yourself a membership as well so you can work out together.  Gifts of fitness memberships can be used all year long and can help those on your list get back on track after the hectic holiday season!

Even though your shopping days may be getting short, that doesn’t mean you can’t still get all your shopping done and pick out some wonderful gifts that will be loved and appreciated!