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Last-minute gifts for any budget

December 22, 2004

BY JAE-HA KIM Staff Reporter

It's three days before Christmas and we know there are more than a few of you who haven't gotten a present yet for your significant other. Don't freak out. After all, it's not that they're the last people on your list, but rather you've saved the best to shop for last. Yeah, that's it.

Have no fear. Whether money is no object or you're working within a budget, we've got some ideas that will dazzle your loved ones. Feel free to improvise, but these tips hopefully will get you in the mood to shop. You may pick up some things at local stores. Others may require a little online shopping, which means it may not be delivered in time for Christmas -- so give the recipient a card to let him or her know what will be arriving in the mail.


Poker is hot. Make your man feel like a high roller with a poker chip set. Regent offers one for $39.99 that includes chips and playing cards enclosed in a sleek little case.

Give him the gift of time. Morning time, that is. We like the Philips Senseo coffee maker ($49.95), which makes two steaming cups of java in less than a minute. Cleanup is remarkably fast, thanks to tea baglike pods of coffee grind that don't mess up your coffee maker.

Still not sure what to get him? How about a copy of the latest issue of Sports Illustrated along with a year's subscription to the magazine. When he gets the swimsuit issue, he'll think of you ... sort of. If you can splurge, insert an IOU for a pair of tickets to see his favorite sports team. But that'll move this gift into the more than $100 category. Note: If your guy loves music more than sports, get him a CD and the promise of a pair of tickets to his favorite concert in 2005. You get the picture.


Give your sweetie something that also might benefit you as well -- tools. Try the new Black & Decker 18-Gauge Cordless Nailer ($199) with professional nail gun for size. Perfect for framing, siding and crown molding, your handyman also will love this feature: It has a lickety-split firing range of two nails per second! Nothing says I love you more than a good, fast nailing.

Whoever said size doesn't matter probably also said you can't put a price on love. Lavishing a flat-screen plasma television set on your man is the equivalent of a guy sending his sweetie two dozen roses every day for a year -- without having done anything wrong. That's how much they'll love it. Consumer Reports rates Panasonic's 42-incher ($5,000) as top of the line.

Pocket squares and fur supposedly are what men want this holiday. We're not buying it. Literally. Instead, try something they'll use every day -- only nicer, such as a razor and shaving set. The luxe kit by Charles Tyrwhitt ($243.75) will make him throw away his disposables for good. More at


Legwear. We know -- you're thinking leggings are oh-so early '90s. But honey, try a corseted pair from Reve Avoix ( to get the look Drew Barrymore adores. Sex up the look with a sparkly tank top or dress it down with a long sweater. At $30, it's affordable, too. The line, which also includes thigh highs and knee highs, ranges in price from $10 to $75.

Chocolates. All women love chocolates and the ones who say they don't are lying. Gather her favorite brand of sweets -- Hersheys, Godivas or otherwise -- in a basket (or bag, if shopping for a basket is too taxing), slap a bow on it and you're done.

This is cheating, but it'll buy you a few more days. Give her a beautiful card that says your gift will be a fabulous night out on New Year's Eve plus a surprise. But then be sure to actually raise the ante and do it up right with something extra -- such as limo service for the evening (which isn't a bad idea anyhow if you both intend to indulge in the bubbly that night).


Catherine Zeta-Jones said it best when Brad Pitt asked what he should buy for wife Jennifer Aniston: jewelry. Forget the brooch craze, which is so mid-2004. Think earrings, necklaces and fine watches. What woman ever tires of diamonds, emeralds and rubies? Not sure what piece will rock her world? Take a look in her jewelry box to get a sense of what she likes (small pendants, rich colors, drop earrings) and then go with your instinct. If you have really bad taste, take along a friend who knows her style.

Think your woman won't appreciate a handheld video game system? You'd be wrong. On a road trip, think about all the fun you, we mean she, can have playing games on the new Nintendo DS system ($149.99). Besides being compact and sleek, it has two screens, touch-screen input and is Wi-Fi.

A purse. A really nice purse. A Kate Spade bag or something by Coach. And we're not talking about the kind you buy on the street corner for $20. The latest trend is metallic bags. She'll love Michael Kors' new line of handbags, which are moderately priced at $168.


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