published Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Phillips: Last-minute gift ideas that won’t break bank

by Ellen Phillips

It’s Christmas Eve morning and you realize you don’t have the right gift for that special person. Think about the following last-minute ideas that won’t take much time and won’t break the bank.

• Give a treasure. Why not pass on an admired heirloom to the next generation? Write a paragraph or two that explains its significance and pass on this treasure, especially if it’s one your family has cherished through the years. Preservation of family history is so important, especially in these dysfunctional times, and the more we can preserve for subsequent generations, the better.

• Give what you do best. Whether your talents lie in gardening, knitting, cooking or any other ability, think about activities you can perform for someone. A pretty pot of flowers or a plant, desserts or a gourmet meal, a scarf and/or a cap — all are perfect to give as a “right-now” present or as a gift certificate to be redeemed at a later time.

Along these same lines, give the gift of

self. Take an elderly relative or friend for a drive and out-to-lunch.

Make a coupon for movie and snacks to give to the grandkids. Only your imagination is the limit.

• Give charitable gifts. Perhaps your special person is a cancer survivor; give a monetary gift in that person’s name.

Give blood — the gift of life — or bone marrow to honor a recipient. If your “giftee” is an environmentalist, for example, plant a tree in his honor.

Go online and gift a third-world county family with a goat or a flock of geese to help them become self-reliant. (,,

And regardless of your faith, culture, or inclination, have a very merry Christmas.

about Ellen Phillips...

Ellen Phillips is a retired English teacher who has written two consumer-oriented books. Her Consumer Watch column appears on Saturdays in the Business section of the paper. An expanded version is at under Local Business.

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