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Shopping home stretch: Last-minute gift ideas

By Toi N. Degree
Family and consumer education agent

By the time this article hits the paper, you will have just one full week of holiday shopping left. This means you are in the home stretch, and some of you are about to start panicking. Before you do, take a minute… breathe and slow down. The final days of shopping don’t have to be terrible.

Remember, you are just trying to give a nice gift they will like and appreciate. Oftentimes, we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season that we forget what the season is all about. Christmas is about kindness, giving and cheer. Take a second to think of those things. Now, let’s focus on shopping in that manner. No matter how large or small the gift, as long as it’s from the heart, you’ve done your best.

So now for some last-minute gift ideas…

Gift cards — Gift cards are the most purchased present during the holidays, primarily because they let the recipient get what they want when they want it. Many national and local retailers offer gift cards online. They are safe to buy and redeem, may be personalized with a message and are a thoughtful way to show someone that you are thinking about them. Gift cards can be purchased to fit the style of the individual.

Spa collection gift sets — Winter brings with it cold, dry air and for some people stress that affects their skin; they may need extra nurturing. A spa collection gift set may be a way for them to pamper themselves and discover a wonderful new fragrance in the process.

Flowers — Wonderful Wishes Bouquet from 1-800-Flowers.com is a beautiful arrangement inspired by the chilly weather. This would certainly add a special touch to any Christmas table.

Subscription — Jewelry, coffee, wine, etc. Everyone has that one thing that they just love. So, why not give them what they love all year long? For instance, if jewelry is her thing, you can sign her up for Rocksbox and she can look forward to three pieces of jewelry each month. Choose from three-, six- or 12-month gift options. If she gravitates toward one piece in the selection, she can apply a $21 credit to her purchase and mail back the rest.

Aromatherapy essential oil diffuser — Candles quickly add up, which is why an essential oil diffuser is a must-have in the home. This top-rated pick changes colors while filling the room with a soothing cool mist. Diffusers are said to have many benefits like promoting good sleep, improving respiratory health, eliminating odor, elevating mood, reducing stress and anxiety, repelling insects, increasing energy and boosting the immune system. You can do each of these simply by choosing a different oil to create the needed environment.

Donations — ‘Tis the season of giving, and nothing is more thoughtful than a donation in someone’s name. You can email gift cards from Heifer International, so your friends and family can browse through their options and choose an impactful gift; this can be done in honor of a loved one who has passed on or in honor of a long illness that someone has fought through. The sentiment is priceless.

These are just a few ideas that I hope will make your holiday shopping a little easier. I wish you all a very merry Christmas!

Toi N. Degree is family and consumer education agent with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Rowan County Center. She can be reached at 704-216-8970 or by email at toi_degree@ncsu.edu .

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