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It's a mad, mad, mad, mad dash

OW's guide to the truly last-minute holiday shopping

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Just when you thought you had traversed every last garland-lined escalator, hummed along to every meaningless holiday tune, avoided every strategically placed bit of mistletoe and not made out with your boss at the office holiday party, the realization sets in: Christmas shopping, like that awful Christmas sweater, has another wiry thread just waiting to be pulled. A secret Santa sucker punch or a late-night Facebook realization reminds you that the list that you thought you checked twice should probably have been checked thrice. Oh no!

First: Calm down, we got you. In the following pages you’ll find our very own crib sheet on how to handle the (quite possibly rude) outliers in your sometimes unpredictable Christmas tree diorama. You know the ones: those parts and parcels of the Christmas tree puzzle for whom you wouldn’t naturally buy a gift, but, given the fact that they are in your face right now and they have a present for you and you can’t do anything about it, you have to do something. It’s time to throw back some eggnog and whip out your wallet.

We’ve outlined the cast of characters for which you’ve most likely forgotten to buy a gift, and we’ve included a few handy suggestions for each person – mostly, these are items you can run out and get right now, in the waning days til the 25th. But there are a handful you might have to stick in a card with a note or a drawing or a printout from a website.

Here’s to one last mad holiday-shopping dash. Don’t forget to keep your receipts.

Your passive-aggressive roommate:

Some people just aren’t built for group living. Nobody enjoys fighting, but sometimes you gotta hash it out – just whose turn is it to take out the recycling, and who ate the last banana? It’s hard to get enthusiastic about buying a present for someone who occupies your couch Vaguebooking about your many faults, but try to look at it as a gift to yourself. (Besides, if you don’t get her something, it’ll just be more fuel for her slow burn.) There are two ways to make this worth your cash: One, get her out of your way – for instance, with a gift certificate for a hot-air balloon ride (bobsballoons.com, 877-824-4606, $160 for half-day flight and brunch, certificates can be emailed to you) or a gator-swamp airboat tour (Cypress Lake Airboat Tours, 407-957-2277, cypresslakeairboattours.com, $45 for one-hour ride). She’s out of the house for half the day annnnd there’s always the chance she’ll fall out or get eaten by a gator and disappear forever. Bargain option: The 2012 Ourlando Event Calendar($12-25, ourlandocalendar.myshopify.com) illustrated by Thomas Thorspecken is chock-full of cultural affairs that don’t happen in your apartment. Second choice, piss on those pissy little notes she’s always sticking on the fridge with Citation Needed stickers (“Oh, using too much dishwasher detergent kills frogs? Prove it!”) or Punctuation stickers (“I think there’s a hyphen in ‘stinky-ass catbox.’”).

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