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Last-Minute Gift Ideas

It's Christmas Eve, and you're still a few presents short. Never fear, the Fool is here -- with several ideas for the dawdling gift giver:

  • There's a magazine for every hobby, activity, and proclivity. Buy a subscription as a present; include the most recent issue, if easily available, as a nice addition.

  • Remember when you were a kid, and you gave your mom a "Do the dishes for a week" coupon for Christmas? Well, you're not too old to offer time and talent in lieu of trinkets and trifles.

  • Merchandise ordered over the phone or Internet won't arrive before Christmas, but don't rule out the perfect gift because of untimely delivery. Print out an online description to put in the stocking.

  • Give someone a picture frame with a photograph of something meaningful to the recipient (the puppy!). Similarly, make a scrapbook or assemble a photo album, if you have the time. Otherwise, provide the supplies and present it as a scrapbook kit. (Kinko's and the local one-hour photo shop will help.)

  • Gift certificates, the last-minute standby, are available for all kinds of items and services: massages,, skydiving, car detailing, restaurants, dance classes, and a family portrait, just to name a few.

  • A Christmas stocking without a whoopee cushion is just another sock.

  • You can spruce up inexpensive gifts by adding a little pizzazz to the packaging. For example, fill a basket with candles of assorted sizes, wrap in netting, and tie with a bow. You could do the same with wine, an opener, and two glasses.

  • For the Fool on your list, how about some finances-enhancing Motley gifts (at a discount!).

  • What do you get for the person who has everything? Something for someone else, of course. Make a donation to an outstanding charity in their name.

  • Remember that coffee grinder someone gave you last year... but you don't drink coffee? Or perhaps there's another perfectly good (and rarely used) item around the house that could use a better owner.

  • If money isn't tight, consider the gift of travel. You can purchase a package from Travelocity and Expedia -- or how about a night or two at a darling Bed & Breakfast?

  • If you're at a complete loss for ideas, think of the five gadgets, thingamabobs, or whatchamacallits around your house that would make a great gift. (An oven rack puller-and-pusher? The video yule log? The Clapper?) Then go out and buy it!

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