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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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Your pal who’s always got the newest, latest, most Siri-ous hardware? Remind this one that techier isn’t always better. Simple physics and handmade stuff, like sticky putty or stretchy bands, can actually improve your tech experience. Cyber Clean Electronics Cleaning Putty is basically Silly Putty that cleans the Cheetos crumbs out of his keyboard without the metal-shattering risk of canned air ($8.99, thinkgeek.com). The Easy Macro Cell Lens Band is basically just a plastic hemisphere attached to a rubber band, but slip it over his smartphone and now he’s got a macro lens ($15, photojojo.com) strong enough to get a close-up shot of a grasshopper’s face. Or you can really take the piss with a homemade gift: get the Minty Boost USB Charger Kit ($19.99, makershed.com) and build him a backup charger out of an Altoids tin and a couple of good ol’ double As.

Your purpose-driven uncle:

You know that smiley, tanned, thrill-seeking-in-the-name-of-Jesus holier-than-thou-hole who always shows up a bit later than everyone, breezes in with his kids and his teeth, and takes over the room with aw-shucks tales of family and wholesome misadventures – like the time they strapped the dog to the roof of the car and it shat all over the windows? Yeah, that’s the one. Here’s the secret to blowing him and his family out of the water with your unlucky Secret Santa draw: Stay within their shiny-happy-Osteen world view and you’re golden. It needs to be about them, but also about their place in this big ol’ God turd we call Earth and – cherry on top – include something for them to actively do. Kill three doves with one carefully aimed pander stone with Rooms: The Small Group Experience – Leader Kit ($29.95), a four-session Bible study that includes the novel Rooms by James L. Rubart (plot summary: young man inherits palatial home that turns out to be the physical manifestation of his soul, which God declares tax-exempt), a “member book” with “embedded leader notes” and a DVD-ROM with teaching sessions and leader tips. It’s available online, but if you’re desperate, hop over to Lifeway (2522-B E. Colonial Drive; 407-894-0077; lifeway.com), which is open Christmas Eve until 5 p.m.

Your family tree pruner, aka the nosy archivist:

There’s always one member of the family who takes it upon him- or herself to document every branch, twig, leaf and bud of the family tree. Sate this person’s taste for amateur genealogy with a membership to Ancestry.com ($89-$299), and complete the thought with custom family tree art (geneartogy.com, $178-$408). Hammacher Schlemmer’s Desktop Photograph To Digital Picture Converter ($99.95, hammacher.com) will bring dusty old photo albums into the 21st century, making it easy to create calendars or multiple-edition books out of fading Instamatic prints from the ’70s before they crumble into nothing – also making it easy to post pictures on Facebook to see if a far-flung cousin can put a name to the face of Mr. Third From the Right, Family Hunting Trip 1963.

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