The Christmas countdown has begun, and the days will no doubt fly off the calendar like they do every year. Before you know, it's only a few days until the holiday is here.

Those who haven't yet started shopping may feel pressed for time and worry that they will not be able to find gifts for everyone on their lists -- at least gifts that don't look like they were afterthoughts. But good gifts can be found in the eleventh hour.



* Visit the local liquor store for a bottle of wine in the price range desired. Wrap it in a wine bag or leave it as is with a nice bow.

* Pick up passes to a local attraction, such as an amusement park or a museum. Put together tickets for a play paired with a soundtrack of the production.

* Food is often appreciated. A box of fine chocolates or one of those edible fruit arrangements will be a tasteful, and tasty, gift.

* Fill a large bowl with a scooper, sprinkles, cherries, and other toppings for making ice cream sundaes.

* Pick a gift that embraces the holiday spirit. Holiday music, ornaments or table decorations can be used this year or next.



* Pop into a toy store or a department store and pick up a cuddly stuffed animal.

* Buy an art set for older children, full of paints and markers. If a complete set can't be found, make an art package with a bunch of supplies packed into a gift bag.

* Choose an educational gift that is still fun, like alphabet flash cards or puzzles. A subscription to a children's magazine would also work, seeing as children love getting mail.

* Few kids will turn down a DVD of their favorite television characters. The DVDs should feature an age-appropriateness rating to make choosing one even easier.



* Teenagers can be finicky, so a monetary gift will be one-size-fits-all.

* Teenage girls may appreciate a gift basket of delicious scented lotions.

* Passes for movies can make date night less expensive.

* Consider a gift card or e-gift coupon for digital music downloads.

* Give a subscription to a teen magazine so that everyone can keep abreast of their favorite celebrities.

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