Last Minute Presents

48 hours until C day and still no presents have been purchased? Panic not, here are The Tab’s last minute tips.

| UPDATED Anna Sheinman anne summers baking charity Christmas christmas shopping last minute presents subscriptions

It’s 48 hours until C day. That Amazon order never happened. You’ve been ‘snowed in’. You have caught up on last term’s Misfits, but nobody has any presents. Panic not. Well, panic a bit; that’s only sensible. But, The Tab have the answers.

Plan A – run the gamut of hell that is your local high street

Today is officially the busiest shopping day of the year. This has got to be military. Flak coats optional.

The Chocolate Route


Who’s it for?: People who are not likely to be on a diet. So the old, the young, and the thin/ recently dumped.

Tell me more: Poundland is your friend. Their sweets are so cheap (£1, obviously), it really will make you sick. Pick the present receiver’s favourite chocolate, buy ten big packs for a tenner, make some cute remark in your card about getting them what they really want for Christmas and leave again quickly. Poundland is horrid.


Plan B – get inventive at home

This happily saves you having to leave the house, or at least go to any real shops.

A ‘build your own snowman’ kit

Who’s it for? Children under the age of 12. Your particularly childish uncle.

Tell me more: Take one shoebox, line it inside and out with wrapping paper (see below). Nick a load of cotton wool from the bathroom cabinet, and glue the cotton wool pieces inside the box for a classic primary school snow effect. Place in the box: one carrot for the nose, two buttons/ potatoes for the eyes and a postman’s red rubber band for the mouth. Fold in last Xmas’ too-itchy scarf, or if you haven’t got any spare woolies, a trip to your local charity shop will do nicely. Other more personalised accessories can be fashioned by cutting them out of old cardboard boxes and coloured in, e.g. a pair of glasses, wonky front teeth, eyebrows. On top, place a note which reads: “IOU one Snowman building session”. Now pop the box under the tree, and hope it snows!

Personalised biscuits

Who’s it for? See ‘The Chocolate Route’

Tell me more: 5 minutes to roll out, 12 minutes to bake and it is the cook’s prerogative to eat on the job, under the guise of ‘testing the mixture’. Get yourself some star/christmas tree/ angel cookie cutters (if you don’t have any and you’re feeling exceptionally cheap, just get creative with a knife and fashion your own festive shapes), some writing icing and some of those disconcertingly bouncy silver balls (really, try it, it’s amazing). Basic biscuit recipe is 150g plain flour, 50g caster sugar, 125g butter, baked for 12 minutes at 175 degrees. To personalise, initials always go down well – but why stop there? Sports fans can have their team’s colours, fashion followers can have festive handbags, massive lads can get hilarious Yuletide breasts. Smother cooled biscuits in melted chocolate (don’t muck about with icing; less tasty, more time) and decorate according to recipient. Done.


Plan C – contingency

When all else fails, these presents can be rustled up in minutes.

Magazine Subscriptions

Who’s it for? Happily, there is a magazine out there to suit everyone- from Air Gunner to Zimbabwean Magazine, the possibilities really are verging on endless.

Tell me more: Empire Magazine can be bought for £30 for the year for anyone who ever watches movies. Cosmo, a snip at £15 for the year, for all women over 15 and gay men. The Economist is the best is currently doing a student offer of 12 issues for £12, and £23 per quarter after that. Set a reminder on your phone to cancel it after the 12th issue, and you’ve just got someone 3 months’ worth for only £12. Bargainous. Do it online, print out the receipt / a copy of the current front page, or if it’s not too niche go and buy them the current copy from the corner shop, scribble an explanatory note, and that’s their present, sorted.

Charity Gifts

Who’s it for? Those who already have anything, nice people, people who think they’re nice people.

Tell me more: Give a goat for £25, adopt a tiger for £2 a month, send a playtime session to a child for £7, you name it; it’s online. does a good conglomeration, and will direct you to Oxfam Unwrapped, the NSPCC, WWF and more. Almost all of the sites will email you a certificate or e-card to print off so you have something to give on the day, and WWF will even send a cute furry animal version. With so many options, there is always a way to personalise it: teaching lessons for a school teacher, health check-ups for a doctor, fertiliser for a … farmer? Get shopping!


Last resort: The IOU

Who’s it for? Mothers, brothers, lovers – anyone you have taken advantage of during the year.

Tell me more: This present takes as long to assemble as it takes to write 10 words on a post-it. The premise: you have spent at least 18 years of your life getting lunch, lifts and laundry off your mother. You still didn’t drag your sorry arse off to M&S and get her a 4 quid poinsettia.

Solution: IOU cheques. Some ideas: 1 week of washing up, 1 foot massage (be careful who you’re promising, though: well pedicured big sister- yes; grandma with the bunions- no), etcetera. Be warned, though: you have to actually follow through if it’s going to look like a feasible solution to the gift dilemma, so be realistic.

If you want to take the dirty, rather than domestic route, then ‘sex cheques’ can be obtained from Anne Summers for a meagre £3. Again, be careful what you promise and when the cheque is ‘cashed’ (don’t offend the baby Jesus on his birthday) but think about it this way: you benefit too, you burn off a couple of Quality Street and you generate a bit of heat while you’re at it. Win-win-win. Just don’t mix up your envelopes on Christmas Day. Very awkward indeed.

So go on, what are you waiting for? Start baking, buying goats and thinking of those IOUs…