Ready, set, shop

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A solid game plan can make last-minute Christmas shopping a breeze

It’s less than 48 hours before Christmas Day and you’ve waited until the last minute to shop. You’ve procrastinated for a month and you’re sweating bullets.

Relax. You are not alone. In a recent poll about 32 per cent of Canadians admitted to doing their holiday shopping in the four days leading up to Christmas.

There are even a few advantages to clocking your shopping performance. For instance, no one can peek early and spoil your surprise. And by ignoring the shopping frenzy, you can focus on the true meaning of Christmas — nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Although you’re cutting it close, you can still come out of this smelling like a rose. Just follow a few strategic tips.

• Put on a pair of athletic runners and check store times.

• Sit down before you speed out the door (and your mind goes blank), and write out a gift list. Set spending limits for each person.

• Cut your list if necessary. How many are obligatory presents to distant relatives and acquaintances you rarely see?

• Before you sprint to the car, browse online for tickets of sports events, movies, plays, dinner theatre, concerts and touring shows. Check out adventure gift certificates for skiing, balloon rides, parasailing and skydiving, to name a few. No one has to clean them, shovel them or put them away.

• If you have a spouse or better half, divvy up the list and synchronize your shopping.

• Save time by purchasing similar gifts for different people when appropriate such as books, CDs, DVDs, tickets and gift certificates.

• Check out memory gifts. For instance, most women love a pampering gift certificate. Why not create a mother and daughter package that ultimately weaves a memory of a day they spend together? Or purchase a Lee Valley gift certificate for Dad and join him for an afternoon browsing through the quirky woodworking, gardening and hardware supplies.

• If someone in your home refuses a gift, offer a donation in their name to youth and men’s homeless shelters, two charities particularly stressed during cold winter months.

• Better yet be a good global citizen and give a cow, rooster or goat for Christmas. Many international charities host fundraising drives for developing countries to supply everything from clean water, mosquito netting and soccer balls to medicines, school books and building safe houses for children caught up in the sex trade.

By thinking about the people in your life, you embody the spirit of Christmas. So relax and enjoy all the hustle and bustle. The excitement will be gone before you know it. Merry Christmas.

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About Author

Anna Borowiecki

Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.