Last-minute shop­ping for the hol­i­days

North Penn Life - - Last Minute Gift Guide -

It’s De­cem­ber 22 and you’ve just barely made it through half of your hol­i­day shop­ping list. The panic may have set in that you just don’t have enough time to get ev­ery­thing done.

This is a com­mon sce­nario around the hol­i­days. Shop­pers have the best in­ten­tions to get their gifts early, but whether be­cause of work obli­ga­tions or so­cial events, the task seems to get pushed fur­ther and fur­ther into De­cem­ber. Soon many are star­ing down the cal­en­dar ex­pe­ri­enc­ing sweaty palms. Many oth­ers may be putting off hol­i­day shop­ping sim­ply be­cause of the cur­rent state of the econ­omy and af­ford­abil­ity.

Ac­cord­ing to a Steel­house Mar­ket­ing Con­sul­tants poll of 1,000 con­sumers, 62 per­cent pre­dict they will spend less money on the 2011 hol­i­day sea­son. Plus, 56 per­cent of fam­i­lies pre­dict they will com­par­i­son shop more than they have in the past. Th­ese fac­tors may con­trib­ute to just how long shop­pers put off ac­tu­ally get­ting into stores or go­ing on­line to shop.

For the scores of shop­pers who con­sciously or sub­con­sciously wait un­til the last pos­si­ble minute to shop, there are ways to sur­vive and sur­prise friends and fam­ily with great gifts.

* Gift cards: They may not have sen­ti­men­tal mean­ing be­hind them, but gift cards are fast and easy. Chances are you can run into a store and be out with a hand­ful of gift cards in less than 15 min­utes, de­pend­ing on lines at the check­out counter. Also, many su­per­mar­kets, book­stores and other re­tail­ers of­fer gift card kiosks en­abling you to shop for dif­fer­ent gift cards all in one place.

* Food and bev­er­ages: While ev­ery­one is head­ing to the mall in droves, you can be step­ping in­side of a gourmet food or spir­its store. Splurge on fine cheeses or that trendy bot­tle of liquor that a gift re­cip­i­ent has men­tioned but not yet pur­chased for him- or her­self.

* Mag­a­zine sub­scrip­tion: A mag­a­zine sub­scrip­tion is an easy fix as a last-minute gift. Pur­chase one copy of the mag­a­zine at the news­stand and wrap it up nicely. Put a note that a year’s worth of this pe­ri­od­i­cal is on the way. No one will sus­pect that the gift was a last-minute thought.

* E-cer­tifi­cates: Re­tail­ers like mu­sic or book sellers will e-mail a gift cer­tifi­cate code to the per­son of your choice on a se­lected date. For those who are never with­out an

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