(RNN) - With only 10 days left until Christmas, people across the country are scrambling for last-minute ideas to keep their friends and loved ones from thinking they had been forgotten. Hopefully that means a gift that doesn't look like a thrown together mess.
For those of us who don't want to pick through the last of the Barbie printable hairtastics or the array of cake pop makers at the local shop, there still is a plethora of quick, cheap gifts to get even the most outlandish procrastinators out of a bind.
Looking for a gift with minimum hassle? Have you considered framing a picture?
One of the best gifts my mother told me I ever got her was a giant photo collage-type frame filled with family photos. This was a last-minute gift borne of a frantic brainstorm between my sister and I.
There are plenty of ways to personalize this gift and make it more second-cousin-who-you-don't-want-to-have-a-picture-of-you friendly. A photographer friend of mine once gave me a framed copy of what he considered his "best picture" one holiday. If you don't live with the recipient of your gift, a photograph of your town - or theirs - could make a good, neutral gift.
People love to be cooked for, and if the popularity of fast food joints has said anything it's that people don't like cooking for themselves nearly as much. Applying this idea to the holiday season, when everyone's cozying up with fresh-baked cookies and eggnog, you can make a simple Mason jar recipe kit to share the holiday warmth.
This gift is easy to make even if you don't want to share your secret family recipe for the most amazing M&M blondies on the planet.
Fill a Mason jar with the dry ingredients for your treat, attach a card with cooking instructions and a list of the wet ingredients needed. You can even jazz up the package by tying a festive bow around the neck of the bottle. These jars are an easy, quick, personal gift to share with your friends and loved ones. And you can buy Mason jars at most craft stores.
If you've got a little more time on your hands and you're handy with a pair of knitting or crochet needles, there are a plethora of great, free patterns available online. A good starting place, even for the amateur knitter, is Ravelry, an online community with patterns from video game inspired scarves and easy hats to wedding dresses. With a free account on the site you can search through thousands of patterns. A simple search using the word "quick" yields more than 4,000 patterns on its own.
There are also other free places to get easy patterns, such as Lion Brand yarn's free pattern index. The site has crochet, knit, weaving loom and general craft patterns.
By far the cheapest, easiest, quickest gift of all is the gift of personal coupons. Allowing someone to play boss is usually very well-received - and best of all, the personal nature of these "personal coupons" can easily be tailored to anyone's last minute gift needs.
For a significant other, you can make coupons for lovey-dovey things, like kisses or a foot rub, as well as utilitarian things like yard work and ironing. Coupons could be tailored to a child, to allow for computer time or control of the television. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.
If you don't have the artistic skill to make coupons on your computer or by hand, Kodak has a quick and easy template available for free.
If you don't feel like throwing something together and would prefer to just pick something up from the store, keep in mind that most retailers will be closed on Christmas Day. Be a good little elf and get your gifts while the doors are still open. Many will be open on Christmas Eve until at least 6 p.m.
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