Last – Minute Christmas Shopping

By Jane WangerskyChristmas Eve, eldercare, shoppingRight, right – you shouldn’t be shopping on Christmas Eve in the first place, but . . . stuff happens. So you may find yourself on your way home from work on the 24th with one or two or all of the presents on your list still unbought, and the thought of the crowded mall looming in your mind like the Ghost of Christmas Past.

It doesn’t have to be like that. There are plenty of places to shop that are quiet, even peaceful, on Christmas Eve. You can get your shopping done without wrecking your nerves. How do I know? I visited a dozen retail outlets on Christmas Eve between 10 a.m. and four p.m. Here’s what I found.

First, you’ll have to give up on the idea of finding the perfect present for anyone – but by Christmas Eve, you probably already have. Tell yourself firmly that it’s the thought that counts, and try one or more of these places.

  1. The movies: Lots of theater chains sell passes. Give someone the gift of a good time.
  2. Fast food restaurants also sell gift certificates – just be sure to hit them outside of mealtimes.
  3. Thrift stores are not typically full of Christmas shoppers – the parking lot was almost empty at the one I checked out. Of course, it takes a little time to find the good stuff, but it’s always there somewhere – and, as in other businesses, you can just buy a gift certificate if you’re in a hurry.
  4. Hardware stores are not just for people who want power tools for Christmas. I found a tabletop fountain and silk tree to add a little serenity to our house, and I also saw framed artwork, poinsettias, and, of course, lots of gadgets.
  5. Pet supply stores are a good place to find things for your friends’ favorite animals – and the one I visited also sold beautiful cat-themed cards that could be framed for the wall. And there was only one other customer in the whole place.
  6. At a specialty food store, you can find plenty to fill up a gift basket.
  7. Travel agencies are almost deserted on Christmas Eve. You don’t have to buy someone tickets to Paris (though that would be nice). These places also sell handy things, like money belts and inflatable pillows, that make traveling easier.
  8. Hair salons aren’t busy either. If you can buy someone a certificate for a haircut or manicure without insulting them, go ahead. And bear in mind, getting yourself a haircut can also be a gift to the people around you.
  9. Our local library is open only till 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve, but it’s quiet as ever, and sells postcards, mugs, and tote bags.
  10. Video stores can be crowded at this time, but they’re open late, and they sell as well as rent.
  11. Gas stations are, at this point, only for the really desperate. But they do sell sunglasses, wireless accessories, lottery tickets, flowers, candy, and fire logs. (Those last three sound more like Valentine’s Day gifts, actually. Remember that a couple of months later.) If someone really needs it and won’t be offended by the gesture, think of getting a gift card for a tank of gas.
  12. Finally, don’t forget your computer, where gift certificates, e-books, and music files can be bought and delivered by e-mail.
  13. And then, you can say proudly, along with the late Stan Rogers: “At last I’m ready for Christmas, with nearly two hours to go!”

Jane Wangersky is the author of In Small Packages: Gifts You Can Mail at Canada's Lowest Postal Rates, available for $3.75 at

Article Source:


5 Responses

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by steve Joyce, Todd . Todd said: Last – Minute Christmas Shopping | Elder Care ABC: Pet supply stores are a good place to find things for your f.. [...]
  2. Great ideas for last minute gift shopping on Christmas Eve! I actually got a Movie gift card from my Aunt this Christmas, I liked it though =D
  3. Your MI'm watching the news, and EVERY channel refers to last minute Christmas shopping, as "holiday" shopping? Why don't they just say "Christmas" is saying "Christmas" offensive to anyone? People are not doing "holiday in general" shopping, they are doing "Christmas shopping"...Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, there is nothing offensive or politically correct about it... Any thoughts? Please explain...essage
  4. I know how you feel - i hate shopping at Christmas too. I will be buying approx. 75% of mine online this year as i did last year: it's actually quite a buzz, getting all the parcels delivered you feel like you are gettng prezzies yourself :-) Think of what you would spend on parking, fuel and all the extra little bits you would probably end up buying on impulse in the shops - if you make a list of what you want to buy online and stick to it you will actually save money.
  5. I have four children and we spend 200.00 in gifts apiece and 50.00 in clothing a piece also .Yes we buy for all our family its not much but its something . We usually try to stick to less than 20.00 on them.
  6. We take Christmas giving pretty seriously at our house. My wife and I buy for each other and the three kids, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law, and a grandson. This year we will have my mother-in-law with us for Christmas and new twin grandchildren. We will probably end up spending $1500-2000 for gifts.

Leave a comment