Santa’s elves have never had to dive into crowds of aggressive, anxious shoppers inside a department store—but you have! And with only a few more days before Christmas, there’s a chance you’ll be doing it again for that one person missing off your nice list. Here’s a quick, last-minute guide to Christmas presents for those difficult family members:


Your niece probably already knows what she wants for Christmas and the “Greatest Hits of Wilson Phillips” isn’t going to cut it. Depending on her age, consider going the mature route with the latest funny book from Lena Dunham or Amy Poehler. If she’s younger, try giving her something her mom would only vaguely approve of, like a poster of Harry Styles or funky diary. And don’t think that you have to go with everything pink, sparkly, and fuzzy; you can certainly give her traditional “boys” toys like a remote control plane, microscope, or sports equipment. You could even do a paired gift package, like a DVD of “Bend it Like Beckham” with a soccer ball.


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One question: Is there a new Michael Bublé album out? If so, has anyone else bought it for her already? If Mr. B’s latest collection of catchy, soulful warbles is already taken, most CDs that revolve around Broadway musicals are usually a safe bet. Better yet, go in 50/50 with your partner and send her and the father-in-law to an actual theatre performance. Another good option is going the collection route. If she collects nutcrackers, give her a few new ones. If she has a display of vintage cameras, give her another one for the shelf. If all else fails, just follow the Oprah model: “Oprah Magazine” subscription, an Oprah book, or one of Oprah’s favourite things with the Lady O sticker on the label.


Father-in-laws usually go one way or other: extremely easy or extra difficult. In true stereotypical fashion, BBQ supplies, mechanical tools, and pocket knives tend to work great as gifts. If not, a good bottle of scotch or shared bottle of wine for him and the Mrs. is usually a winning choice. Books are always a worthy alternative, too. Pick up the latest World War II biography or Tom Clancy best seller. If you’re really stuck for ideas, you and your partner can split a gift card to a hearty restaurant in town so he can really indulge himself.


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With nephews, it’s always a fine line of giving an awesome gift they’ll love but not one that will get them expelled from school. To make it easier, try to avoid toy guns, swords, and bows and arrows. One thing that’s usually a good option is outdoor sports equipment. Whether it’s a basketball, football, or a badminton set, chances are he’ll use it. If he’s younger, you can also go down the adventurous path with a metal detector or telescope. And not to worry if he’s more of a studious type. Just pick him up a young adult book, such as “The Maze Runner,” “Divergent,” or the “Harry Potter” series.


Let’s be honest, sometimes the hardest person to shop for is yourself. Don’t pass up massive holiday deals on cosmetics, electronics, and luggage if you’ve been eyeing new wares for years. Furthermore, don’t wait for someone to realize that you love those overpriced candles from Anthropologie or that you pine for a Cheese of the Month subscription. Treat yourself this Christmas and enjoy receiving the flawless gift you won’t have to return come December 26th.


This holiday season, don’t get flustered ala “Jingle All the Way” and discover the perfect gift without the stress. Good luck out there.


What are you looking forward to the most during the holidays?