- Put together a gift basket at the grocery store. Don't limit yourself to actual baskets! A baking dish filled with quirky mixes might please the baker on your list, and a colander full of gourmet pasta and sauces will definitely make a busy working mom happy.
- Get crafty at stores like Joann Fabrics and Michael’s -- they're a treasure trove of last-minute presents for kids.
- Ethnic grocery stores have some wonderful gift options. Choose a selection of curry pastes and chutneys for a friend who loves Indian food, for example.
- Drink it in. A lidded ceramic mug and several types of tea from Chinatown, a stove-top espresso-maker and some great coffee, or a high-quality hot chocolate make for thoughtful gifts.
- Buy books. Sturdy board books are perfect for babies, and books on CD are great for kids of all ages (and for frequent travelers, too).
- Make a matched set. For teens, look for a biography of their favorite band and pair it with their latest album or a gift card to iTunes.
- Make it yourself. You don't have to layer beans in a jar; custom-made spice blends are much easier to whip up and make quite an impact. Here are 10 ideas for homemade holiday gifts to fit any budget.
- Go down memory lane. You can make copies of priceless family photos easily nowadays... take advantage of the amazing prices at online photo places like Snapfish, ArtCow, and Kodak Gallery and turn those old snapshots into sleek photo books.
- A quirky cookbook plus all the ingredients needed to make one of the recipes in it equals an awesome gift.
- Shop at the movies. Many theaters offer gift certificates or movie tickets -- pick up enough for a few weekends and offer to babysit. Instant date night!
Can't stand the thought of stepping into a mall during the holiday season? Stuck for a creative gift idea? Don't want to deal with paying for shipping when shopping online? We hear you... here are a few creative ways to find a perfect present: