It’s Christmas Eve, and you know what that means! It’s time to make a last-minute run to the store to buy gifts for the people you can never seem to remember to shop for earlier. It’s not that these loved ones are any less loved, they’re just … harder to keep in your thoughts and/or prayers. But luckily for you, we’ve prepared a cheat-sheet to find the perfect present for everyone on your list, even if you just added them to it two minutes ago.
- The relative you forgot was still alive
Uh oh! Great Aunt Edith is still kicking? Isn’t she, like, 105? There are two reasons why you might not want to let this one go: Of course, it’s good to respect your elders! But you also need to remember that even if Auntie doesn’t notice you skipped her, the rest of the family is sure to. And the last thing you want is for your slightly-less-great aunts to get on your case. So, take a little time to think about what Great Aunt Edith really needs. The answer, after 105 years, is probably nothing. But that won’t solve your problem, so go with a nice card.
- The friend who attends Santa Con every year
How could you forget Santa himself? It must have been the fact that his suit is neon-green, not red, this year. But even though it feels like someone who dresses up as Christmas’ head honcho must have plenty of gifts already, you need to send something this friend’s way to show him you care. Luckily, given his hobby, pretty much any Christmassy accessory will do the trick! Extra points if it’s got jingle bells or sequins.
- The neighbor who just dropped off a plate of cookies at your door
It’s almost like they were waiting until they knew you were home to stop by. You saw them coming up the driveway and started panicking, but didn’t have time to knit a scarf or can some pickles or come up with any other appropriately handmade gift. You told them that you and Dad hadn’t gotten around to the “neighborhood gifts” yet, but time is running out before Christmas, and pretty soon they’ll be able to see through your lie.
Don’t despair! Run to the store and pick up a box of cookies that someone could believe you’d made. Toss them in the oven at home so they’re just a little burnt, then pop those suckers on a plate with some saran wrap! Problem solved.
- The friend who invited you to their Pee-wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special screening for the third year in a row
There’s nothing wrong with Pee-wee Herman or his playhouse, but if you go again, they might expect you to go a fourth time — and a fifth — and you’ll have to move to another state to be free of it. So, what can you gift them that says, “I like you a lot, but I like my sanity more. Merry Christmas,” without being rude? Well, embroidering those exact words on a hand towel will certainly soften the blow, but it’s better to paraphrase. Instead, send them an ornament shaped just like Pee-wee to show that you care but wish he would stay at your friend’s house, far away from you.
- The person whose name you drew in a secret Santa, but have never actually seen one-on-one
She seems like a nice person, but now that you think about it, you can’t remember any of her hobbies or interests or even where she works. Downtown somewhere, right? You might think that a gift card to any local business would be good enough, but you might end up giving her one to the place she works at! Play this one cool by sending all of your mutual friends a questionnaire about her hometown, her favorite foods, and any college classes they think she might have taken. Then get her a gift card to Starbucks.
We hope this helped you get your Christmas shopping done in enough time to put on your reindeer pajamas, pour some eggnog and relax next to the tree. After all this, you sure belong on the nice list — so just hope that Santa hasn’t forgotten about you!
Bridget Hanchek is a senior from Portland, Oregon studying professional writing and Japanese. She enjoys reading, cooking, and eating, often all at once. She spends way too much time at the library. Follow her on Twitter @behanchek.