Five last minute Xmas gifts that aren't too bad
You don't really love your friends and family do you? Rather than spending months carefully pondering their deepest wants and needs, selecting said desires with your bare hands, then daintily wrapping them in your devotion (and also sparkly paper covered in Santas), you left everything to the last second, and now your only options are digital gifts, braving the shopping malls with all the other blackened souls in possession of limited forward planning skills, or going totally DIY. Forget the malls now, not even you deserve that fate. And don't bust out the IOU1MASSAGE cards, service station stuffed koalas or iTunes gift vouchers just yet either, there are still a few things you can get your loved ones in minimal time that aren't the absolute worst.
Here are some of your better options. Note: None of them work for children who, as a general rule, always prefer convenience store plastic gifts to good stuff anyway.
A donation in their name to a cause they care about
If you haven't realised already, Christmas is a competition, and a charitable gift is the ultimate touch down, because no matter how hard your giftee wanted a nerf-gun kit, they can't say boo about this present, for fear of looking like a huge jerk. Also, you can do this online, you huge jerk.
Something from iTunes/Kindle
Hang on a second, did I not just say iTunes vouchers were the ultimate gifting failure? Yes. It is true. Generic iTunes vouchers are terrible gifts. But specific iTunes purchases can be quite nice. "Here is this book that I think you would enjoy" they say, or "here is this album that makes me think of you." If your giftee gets miffed and asks why you didn't get them the physical version, just play the goodie-two-shoes card and say this way of doing things is better for the environment. If you're unsure how to give a specific thing, here are some instructions.
That thing they've always liked
This is a hard one, because it means you have to part with something, and as we have already established, you are an incredibly selfish person who decided to go to the beach and play on your PSP instead of doing your Christmas shopping, but boy can doing this make you look like a saint. Think hard about your giftee, and your personal trove of possessions. Is there anything they've repeatedly commented on? An old band t-shirt? A pot plant? That painting your ex-girlfriend did of a baby eating a water dragon against a glitter-smeared hellscape? Give them that. You don't even have to leave the house to get it, it's not going to cost you anything, and the "I've noticed how much you love it, and I want you to have it," line is some full blown Mother Teresa steez.
Something from the Chemist and something from the Bottle-O
Right now, malls are a horror. Super markets are just as bad, but there are a few shops remaining whose lines aren't miles long. Run, don't walk, to your nearest after hours chemist, load up on facemasks, hand lotions and hair treatments, then wander over to the bottle shop that is inevitably near-by, that you were planning on going to anyway, and buy something sparkly of reasonable quality. You've just bought a 'girl's night in'. Note: This works better if the person you are giving the gift to is neither a man, nor a recovering alcoholic.
The gift of contrition
There's nothing people like more than drawn-out, sincere apologies, followed by promises of improvement that you will actually follow through on. Confess you didn't get your nearest and dearest gifts. Hand write them tear stained letters of apology, then ask them what they really want, and go buy it on Boxing Day. That way they get to feel smug and superior AND get a present, while you feel the same low levels of personal shame you always do, whilst savoring the sweet sweet savings.
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