OK, some last minute additions to Toni Ryan's Fast Cheap Christmas Solutions to help you sail through your last minute holiday stress.
Stress no more, people!!
1. Back to Basics.
Gloves, socks, underwear, matches... not only are these practical gifts that everyone will need at some point in their lives, but they are also guaranteed to never elicit this response: "Uh, so what am I supposed to do with these?" Ditto for pens, paper, tape, staples, pretty much any office supply, cleaning product, and currency (paper preferred).
2. More snow?! SURE go right ahead, Mother Nature!
Going along with the theme from above, right about now I'd love anything that would help me get through this weather. A really kick-ass ice scraper, an industrial strength shovel, a low-grade snow thrower (under a hundred bucks!), a blow torch (I'm serious -- special thanks to Y Squared for this tip: http://amzn.com/B000KEY9US) --- I'll even take a bag of rock salt.
3. Car Emergency Kit
This one is really easy to make on your own. Hit Target, Walmart, whatever, go straight to the bags section and look for clearance. Find a really cheap tote bag, then walk around the store filling it with random inexpensive stuff like tissues, wet wipes, bottled water, matches, gum, small ice scraper, packet of aspirin, whatever junk you find in the travel-size item aisle, gloves, etc. Add in a roll of quarters, some empty plastic bags for trash, and stop by the liquor store for a mini-bottle of vodka. Voila.
4. Mom & Dad are the EASIEST people to buy for
Think of your worst gift-for-parent cliche. Tie for dad? Apron for mom? Go ahead and buy it. Because at some point in your life, mom & dad WILL need those cliche things. Heck, get your dad a pen; he writes, doesn't he?. Mom's bathrobe? She bathes, doesn't she?
5. Gift Cards Are Your Best Friend, Especially When You Meet Them At Kiosks
Thursday night, in the hustle and bustle of everyone else's craziness, hit Wawa for some delish coffee and some relaxing holiday shopping. People, they didn't put these enormous things in the middle of the store just to be annoying! Get a card from a different store and when everyone opens up your plain envelope of joy, they'll collectively think you spent the time to shop for them at the world's largest shopping mall that not only has an Olive Garden, Babies R Us, and an American Express store, but also a Red Lobster, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Sears and Best Buy and an Overstock.com. You get where I'm going with this.
Don't have a lot to spend on gift cards? Don't! Keep it low. Buy tons of candy canes in at least two colors, and stick them in the same envelope. People get confused by quantity.
6. Kids like stuff. Lots.
Going with the theme of volume, easiest cheap gift for kids? Get to a dollar store, a craft store, or the front door of Target. Fill your basket with random junk that is likely to keep kids busy dealing with the messy packaging, then distracted for at least ten minutes apiece. Imagine that peace and quiet multiplied by the number of pieces of junk, er stuff, you can afford. An afternoon of holiday bliss can be achieved for under twenty bucks.
7. Inflate Your Holiday Decor
Literally. If you are hosting in a dimly lit setting, or doing your family gathering via Skype (i.e. webcam) -- dress up your home with a new line of inflatable holiday goodies... like this awesome inflatable fruitcake from my pal Christine Navidad (of The Christine Show fame). They've also got inflatable turkey. Blow up these bad boys and keep them in the background so family on the other end of the webcam don't think you're having a pathetic and lonely and fruitcake-free holiday. Let's be honest. No one really likes fruitcake. But we all seem to notice when it's not there. Two birds, one stone, killed.
Other tips from Toni Ryan's Fast Cheap Christmas Solutions collection (even though most of them are expired by now)