Shop non-standard stores: Department and discount stores are crazy busy this time of year. Instead, how about checking out gift boutiques in smaller shopping centers? Consignment and antique shops have a wonderful collection of gift possibilities and are much less crowded than other stores this time of year.
Give an experience: Tickets to a play or concert, or a gift-certificate for the play or concert of their choice, can be easily arranged online with minimal effort. If you make sure your choice suits the taste of the recipient, this can be a truly special gift.
Give a service: A day at a spa, a home cleaning service, or a catered meal at home can be a real treat for busy families. If money is tight, how about offering to chauffer the kids on their carpools for a couple of days to give parents a little time off, or babysitting to give them a chance to get away for an evening?
Gift certificates: This may seem like a lazy gift, but you can make it special. For example, give a teenager a set of gift certificates that add up to a nice date – movie tickets and dinner at a special restaurant for example. Others may prefer an iTunes gift certificate allows them to buy their own music online. Look for opportunities to encourage people to try a new restaurant that you particularly like – combine a gift certificate with a copy of the menu and write comments in the margin to indicate your favorite dishes.
If you’ve procrastinated, use your imagination instead of creating stress for yourself, and you may find that this year’s gifts are the best ever!