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Need a last minute gift?

POSTED: January 2, 2009 5:00 a.m.

You’ve got the children, the family dog, the gifts and the pumpkin pie all packed into the car, ready for the three hour drive this morning to grandmother’s house.

Then, it dawns on you — you forgot to buy a gift for Uncle Steve. What can you do?

If you face holiday dilemmas ranging from needing to buy batteries or a gift you, there are options even on Christmas Day.

If you need to do some shopping in person, you have two options: drug stores and convenience stores. While not all drug stores are open on Christmas Day, typically those locations which are open 24-hours, seven days a week will be open today.

"This store never closes," said Abby Hullett, a shift supervisor at Rite Aid drug store on South Enota Drive in Gainesville. It is among the area drug stores open today, including the pharmacy.

Even before Christmas Day, most holiday items already were marked down 50 percent, Hullett said.

"With us being open 24-7, we usually see some people (on Christmas Day)," she said.

Hullett said items throughout the store are on sale, meaning just because you’re shopping at the last minute doesn’t mean you have to break the bank.

"I think our prices are pretty reasonable," she said.

The Walgreens on Shallowford Road and the CVS on Jesse Jewell, both in Gainesville, also will be open today, as well as most convenience stores.

"Of course, it is busy on Christmas Day," said Akbar Dhannani, owner of J&S Food Store on Thompson Bridge Road, who said people often come in on Christmas Day to buy batteries and other items.

"One man came in (Wednesday) morning looking for brown sugar, but we don’t carry that," he said.

His Chevron store already had been busy in the days leading up to Christmas Day, with lottery tickets being one of the most popular gifts. Dhannani said one customer on Wednesday morning had purchased $100 in single lottery tickets. He said he also stocks cigars and international cigarettes, which have been popular as well. Beer and wine also have been popular gifts, but Dhannani explained alcohol cannot be sold on Christmas Day due to a Gainesville city ordinance.

J&S also sells Chevron gift cards, which can be used to buy anything at a Chevron store; and Visa gift cards, which can be used to make purchases at any retailer who accepts Visa.

If you’re not near a store that is open on Christmas Day, online retailers never close and there is a range of gift certificate and gift card options available that either be e-mailed to the recipient or printed out.

Another online option often overlooked is magazine subscriptions, which are offered at book retailers such as Amazon and Books-A-Million. Amazon will let you print out a personalized gift card or Books-A-Million will e-mail the recipient that you have given them a gift of a year’s worth of their favorite magazine.

But if this year you overlooked a gift because you have been strapped for time and cash, Consumer Reports recommends giving the gift of time and creativity. You can offer to baby-sit for a busy mom, cook a homemade meal for a bachelor or run errands or do home repairs for an elderly aunt. If you’re a photographer, you can offer to record the day’s holiday memories — how about a group photo of the whole family?

Another no-cost gifting option recommended by Consumer Reports is regifting. If you think that blinking holiday tie you got at the office is right up Uncle Steve’s alley, give it to him. In Consumer Reports Annual Holiday Poll, some 12 percent said they would be regifting this year. But be wary of getting caught regifting and consider it a last resort.



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