So here it is, Dec. 23, two days to the Big Event, and you still haven’t finished your Christmas shopping.

You basically have three options. One, rush out frantically to the stores and grab whatever you can find left on the shelves, because most of the good stuff will be picked over. Two, give money or write some checks, thus exposing yourself for the lazy, procrastinating lout that you are.

Or three, relax at home and do one of the following. A gift to yourself, as it were:

Gift certificates. If you have a computer, an Internet connection and a printer, you can print these babies off by the dozens, stuff them into stockings assembly-line style, and be done with it.

At, you not only can print the gift certificates, you can send them via e-mail or as a phone text message. The recipients can then redeem them at dozens of major retail outlets and restaurants, including Sears, Olive Garden, Macy’s, Sports Authority and more. At, you can print them out, send them via e-mail or post them on the giftee’s Facebook page. Some movie theater chains, such as Regal Cinemas (, offer eGift cards that you can deliver instantly via e-mail.

Or you could visit the website of your favorite bookstore, restaurant, spa, etc., to see if they offer instant gift cards.

Tickets to concerts and plays. Whether it’s Taylor Swift at Gillette Stadium, David Sedaris at Merrill Auditorium or the Portland Symphony Orchestra’s “The Golden Age of Motown,” you can purchase tix online and print them out easy-peasy or make them available for pick-up at Will Call. Here are two sites that sell loads of tickets to local shows: and

Memberships. Make your loved one an A-lister by buying them a membership to arts organizations such as Portland Ovations, museums such as the Portland Museum of Art and the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine, or mug clubs at local restaurants such as Gritty McDuff’s and the Sea Dog Brew Pub. Most let you sign up online. The best part? You get to use their insider status to snag primo seats as their guest.

Give a donation in their name. There is no shortage of good causes that could use your contribution this year. And it has the added bonus of raising awareness about the cause.

This last one is the simplest of all: Give your time. One of the best gifts we ever received from our daughter was a handmade coupon book that could be redeemed for everything from performing a chore to giving hugs. You can also do this for your significant other, with the coupons ranging from household chores to more, um, risque offerings. (Nudge nudge, wink wink.)

Merry Christmas!

Deputy Managing Editor Rod Harmon may be contacted at 791-6450 or at:

[email protected]