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Ok, you’ve been putting in over time at work, the kids are sick, the car needs repairs, and suddenly it’s Christmas eve and you’ve accomplished nothing in terms of gifts. What do you do?

Step one, take a deep breath and don’t panic. You can still accomplish quite a bit if you manage this last bit of time effectively.
Grab some paper and a pen. Make a list of the items that you must get for people you’re seeing on Yule day. Visits later in the week can wait for right now (trust me they will not know when you bought the item unless you give them a receipt). Next, consider what store (or stores) carry the majority of what you want.

I recommend a one-stop super store complete with groceries so you can also buy Christmas dinner supplies instead of the ones still neatly sitting in your freezer. If that’s not possible, the plot out the easiest route to the first store, and between each store – save as much time and gas as you can.
As you enter your car, take a healthy portion of patience with you. Be kind to clerks who have been getting yelled at and poked, pulled and prodded all day. Other customers won’t get anywhere near the service you will if you come bearing a smile and a good sense of humor.
Be ready to be creative.

You may have to substitute or come up with whole new ideas. You don’t have time to fixate now, so have a few good alternatives tucked into your mind ahead of time.

Don’t forget about those things that are useful year round – a first aid kit, for example.

Gifts don’t have to be fancy to be really useful and appreciated. If possible, avoid things like drive through gift certificates and gag gifts. These don’t show a lot of thought, nor do they reflect individuality.
Finally make a note in your computer system to shop earlier next year!


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