Five Last-Minute Gifts For Any Budget

So, it’s Christmas Eve Eve, and not to sound like a Claymation character, but Christmas is almost here and you need to buy gifts.

Only, the idea of hitting crowds during a pandemic isn’t your cup of tea, maybe. Or maybe you’re always anti-crowd during Christmas because that’s a lot of humanity on a deadline.

We feel you.

So in the spirit of retaining your Christmas spirit, we humbly suggest five last minute gift ideas that you can pick up quickly (or maybe even without making contact with a human at all) – and bonus, they all support local merchants and organizations.

Choo-Choose a New Tradition
PHOTO: Bret Redman

Schools are closed for the holidays, and let’s face it – about Dec. 27 or so most families will be staring down the prospect of entertaining kids and will need to escape.

The Trains at NorthPark have taken several precautions to ensure social distancing, and tickets are easily obtainable online. Proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House Dallas, which means you’re helping families who have a sick child at a local hospital

“With the pandemic affecting traffic to many retail outlets, the Trains at NorthPark has seen a 67% drop in visitors compared to last year,” a spokesperson told us, adding that the $200,000 decrease in ticket sales equates to providing a minimum of two weeks accommodation, food, and, support for at least 52 families.

Buy tickets here, or at Tom Thumb.

‘Jesus and Flowers’

Whether it’s for a guy, girl, or pup, Dear Clark has gift sets for everyone – and if hair care isn’t a good fit, their brand new House of Dear Spiritual Awakening Candle is probably something everyone needs.

Full disclosure – I had a chance to burn this candle in my own house, and the small human that lives here said, “This smells like Jesus and flowers,” which trust me, is high praise from a fourth-grader.

The candle retails for $40, and gift sets start at $37.

Book It

Interabang Books – the little bookstore that could – has plenty of options, and plenty of staffers willing to help you choose the perfect book. Not too keen on coming in? You can get a audio book subscription, or even call ahead and make arrangements to pick something up.

And did we mention the Interawagon? Because if you have a kiddo to buy for, this is quite possibly the easiest gift to pull together on your list – a custom book and gift collection all wrapped up in a little red wagon, ready for that 12:30 a.m. photo of your gift-laden tree before you take your bleary-eyed self to bed for a few hours.

Eat Up

Let’s face it – the pandemic has hit restaurants hard. Have a person on your list that loves to dine out or has a favorite restaurant? This is the year to get them a gift certificate and support that local eatery.

Personal Toy Shoppers

True story: The fine folks at Toy Maven are extremely helpful and are also possibly magic. You can call them and say, “I have an eight-year-old girl who loves unicorns and softball,” and they will say, “We know just the things,” and then you say, “My budget is $50,” and then you just roll up later, call inside the store, and they bring you whatever they magically deduced would be a good gift. And they gift wrap, eliminating another thing off your list.

And it always is.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, deputy editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at bethany.erickson@peoplenewspapers.com.

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