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What are you doing? You’re still missing Christmas gifts? Really?

While it’s easier than ever to avoid the satellite parking lots of South Coast Plaza with online shopping and more and more people taking the Handmade Pledge (promising online at to purchase “handmade for myself and my loved ones, and request that others do the same for me”), yours truly is still missing one package from—that I ordered before Thanksgiving. So. There’s that. I’m currently debating baking up a dozen cookies or sifting through leftover pickin’s at Target.

Either way: It’s either two days before Christmas, or it’s Christmas Eve (depending upon when your friendly, neighborhood OC Weekly box gets filled), and you’re just about screwed.

Here are three ways to buy gifts now that will make it look like you had it planned out all along. You’re welcome. (But next year will be better. Right?)

If the gift’s for someone on the, uh, important side, and your budget’s a bit more flexible, I’d suggest hauling ass to a flash travel sales site right now. Websites such as offer amazing rates on hotels and resorts all over the world—including destinations that require just a short drive from Orange County or even a (relatively) cheap flight. Right now, you can stay at the ultra-hip Ace Hotel in Portland for $80 per night through Jetsetter.

I just returned from a relaxing weekend in Palm Springs at a boutique hotel that usually charges upward of $300 per night. I paid $120. And I drank many date shakes.

While most businesses are probably closed for the holiday weekend already, there’s no sense in resorting to Rite Aid and Walgreens. might save the day with its Shop Local feature (look for the icon along the left-side column on the Etsy homepage). The feature allows you to possibly strike a deal with a local seller for pick-up.

If there’s one thing people like more than receiving gifts, it’s receiving gifts for their pets. Many Etsy sellers offer the option of sending a pet’s photo in and having an artist render its likeness by hand; users such as Phebe79 ( are on the higher end of things, with oil paintings starting at $90 for a 5-inch-by-7-inch canvas and going up to $180 for an 11-inch-by-14-inch. There’s even the option of having a gift certificate e-mailed to you so you can print it out at home. . . . What’s that? Your giftee doesn’t own a pet? Try a customized human portrait, also painted from a photo you send in electronically. DigsAndThreads ( offers custom portraits of anyone you want, in chalk pastel on paper or oil paint on canvas, starting at $95. Who’s last-minute shopping? Not you. Nope.


This column appeared in print as “It’s (Probably) Not Too Late!”

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