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holiday presents

There's only one more weekend before Christmas. If you're a procrastinator (like me), your holiday shopping isn’t done yet. Which means that this is your last weekend to brave the crowds for wrapping paper and stocking stuffers. But if you hate the mall (like me), you can use the Internet, a little imagination, and the pressure and panic of the last minute crunch to inspire brilliant and unique gift ideas such as . . .

5. Peace and Quiet

When Wicked came to Hartford this summer, I decided that tickets to the show would be a great gift for my mom's birthday. Of course, while my mom's birthday is in early June, the touring production wouldn't open in Hartford until late August. Not perfect but — no, wait, even better. I bought tickets for my mom and dad . . . and my tween sister. Then I told my mom that my difficult little sister would have to behave all through summer break to claim her ticket. Did it work? Probably not. But it’s the thought that counts, right?

4. A Childhood Dream

As a child of the 80s, my husband grew up idolizing Indiana Jones. He wanted to be Indiana Jones. So one Christmas I did the best I could to make that dream come true. I photoshopped my husband's face onto a Raiders of the Lost Ark movie poster. I also bought him an Indiana Jones hat (which he's worn so much that I'm replacing it this year with a new one). Every time he goes out wearing that distinctive brown fedora people yell, “Hey! Indiana Jones!” Mission accomplished.

3. An Empty Box

The great thing about creative people is that they appreciate your whimsical homemade gifts, sometimes more than the actual presents you bought them. One year I gave a theater friend a decorative Christmas box. He opened it to find it empty except for a small note at the bottom. The note read: “Merry Christmas. I bought you an imaginary friend on eBay. (Careful, he was hard to get in the box.)” My friend loved it. More than I ever would have expected. Years later, he still has that box.

2. Indelible Art

One year I was in charge of props for our theater's holiday show. I created an emblem to paint on some props that were specific to the king character in the production. The actor who played the king loved the emblem so much, he asked me to recreate it in black and white for him to keep. When I gave him the drawing, he informed me that I had just designed his next tattoo. Now there's a gift that keeps on giving. Perhaps as a gift to me, he never showed me where on his body he had the emblem inked.

1. A Decoy Grandchild

My mother has been expressing her desire for grandchildren since I was sixteen years old. Ever since I got married, she’s been waiting by the phone for the big news. I don’t need to tell you that a grandchild is a tall order. So what do you get for the woman hoping for a little bundle of joy? Thanks to eBay, last year I discovered reborn babies. Reborn babies are baby dolls that are created to look and feel so lifelike, it’s a little bit scary. So now my mom gets to cuddle with a pretend grandchild, and I hopefully get a couple months of peace before she begins to point out every passing stroller again.

There you have it, five of my most interesting gift ideas. Sure, you can take the easy out and buy a handful of gift cards from the local supermarket. Or you can put a bit of thought into a fun and original present. Either way, whether your gift-giving style is traditional or creative, happy wrapping and enjoy the holidays!

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