Scenario: It’s Christmas Eve and you’ve left the Christmas shopping till now. Whatever the reason for your lack of planning, it’s still possible to come up with last minute gift ideas that match your budget and the tiny amount of time left to shop. Take note of the following suggestions, pack your list and get going!

Think simple. By this stage, elaborate gifts are beyond your capability, and keeping it simple is the name of the game. Perhaps this is why you left things till the last minute anyway, but there’s no need to feel guilty––simple gifts in our recession-prone, environmentally responsible and conscious consumption era make sound sense anyway. If your own ideas aren’t sparking, here are just a few ideas to get you started:
For coffee lovers: Buy a package of really good quality Fair Trade coffee, add a package of organic cinnamon sticks and wrap it all together with a beautiful scarf or napkin and a big bow.
For tea lovers: Buy a teacup and saucer from a vintage or secondhand store, stick a package of French (or other quality) tea inside it and add a tea strainer to the side. Wrap all in cellophane with a gorgeous bow to finish.

For music lovers: You could buy a CD of their favorite music or you could make one from your own music. Make a playlist and burn it to a CD, carefully write out the titles and artists and wrap beautifully. Making your own selection can carry great meaning when the songs are ones that reflect shared experiences. Other ideas include purchasing a ticket to a concert they’d love to go to (buy online and prettify the ticket packaging), an iTunes voucher or a book on the history of some aspect of music.
For book lovers: If you’re running out of time, a book voucher purchased in-store or online will suffice, but how much nicer to choose at least one book that you think will resonate with the person and slip the voucher inside it. Or, how about going to the secondhand bookstore and choosing a much loved classic with beautiful binding, writing a note that describes how this book made you feel when you first read it, then wrapping it in lovely paper?
For garden lovers: Buy a kitchen herb garden or some fancy containers for indoor plants. A small set of good quality gardening gloves, garden snips, and seeds can be easily put together in a little basket, tied together in cellophane. A potted plant always makes a nice gift for someone who enjoys caring for plants.
For gourmet food lovers: Grab the best bottle of olive/walnut/sesame oil you can find on the supermarket shelf, some grissini (Italian bread sticks), a box of decent if not downright luxurious chocolates, a bottle of wine and some fresh packages of spices. Place in a gift box or basket, wrap with cellophane and add a bow.
For video game fans: Grabbing a video game at the last minute is risky unless you’re certain the recipient lacks that title. Instead, purchase a voucher from their favorite game store, and perhaps an accessory such as an extra game controller, a case for storing the games or similar items to round out the gift. If you do buy a game, ask if it can be exchanged; do not buy if it can’t be.
For the jewelry lover: While bling is a bit ostentatious in current times, if you can afford a decent piece of jewelry for someone special, keep it simple. You can rarely go wrong with well-crafted gold or silver pieces, but if time is of the essence, be careful about making snap choices. An alternative is a voucher to a really quaint boutique jewelry store rather than the run-of-the-mill franchise. And for those unable to afford the real stuff, indulge in gorgeous handcrafted hair accessories, costume jewelry and pretty vintage brooches. Goldwiser is your best friend when looking for the prefect gift for that jewelry lover!
For the bath/spa lover: Find some fine French soap, a gorgeous bubble bath, a divine scrubbing mitt, and some bath salts. Package everything together inside a pretty container and, if you have the time, bring together a little book of bath recipes on your computer and add the printed version to the package.

For the baking fan: New baking tools will always be appreciated. Look for silicone-coated baking pan with interesting shapes, vintage-looking, sturdy mixing bowls, wooden spoons of substance (you can never have too many), pastry brushes, cookie cutters, etc. If you have time, make a collection of your own favorite recipes in eBook or printed form and pass them on.
For the candy lover: This isn’t hard, really! Find candies, chocolates, and anything else sweet. There are chocolate Santas, reindeer drops, and all the usual candies to choose from. Or splash out and get a box of hand-selected Belgian or handcrafted chocolates. Wrap exquisitely.

Need the perfect gift for the jewelry lover on your list? Visit me at 24910 Kuykendahl Rd., Tomball, TX 77375 and just ask for Gina, Monday through Saturday!