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Last minute gifts: Tips for the last minute Christmas shoppers, gift ideas

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It's down to the wire and some shoppers are scrambling for last minute gift ideas for Christmas, as there's only a few days left until Santa descends on households across the land. If you're one of those unfortunate few doing some last minute shopping, fear not, for we've got some tips for those last minute gifts.

As USA Today put it on Dec. 20, if you've put off your Christmas shopping and find yourself up against the wall, you don't have to resort to buying your mom scratch-off lottery tickets and a pack of tube socks.

And additionally, in many cases you can even still do your last minute shopping in your PJs from the comfort of your living room couch. It's not too late to buy thoughtful and personalized presents for your loved ones without having to brave the crowds this weekend.

Online retail giant Amazon is likely your best bet if you're buying gifts for the whole family, and have a specific gift list to check off.

You can knock out a Kindle Fire for your significant other, a hardcover boxed set for your Harry Potter-loving kid, and even treat yourself to a fancy new espresso machine for all your hard work - all in just a matter of minutes.

Under a great new deal with the U.S. Postal Service, Amazon is offering same-day delivery in 11 major cities, if you're shipping to one of them and are a member of Amazon's Prime program.

You can order gifts right up to Christmas Eve, and for about $3.99 per item, receive same day delivery, according to Amazon spokeswoman Julie Law.

Some of the cities included in this special deal include Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C..

Otherwise, your last full day to order is Dec. 23. The cuttoff time is 3 p.m. EST. However, if you find yourself completely stuck, you can always order an online gift card and have it delivered to the recipient's e-mail inbox on Christmas morning.

Macy's says customers who order gifts online by 5 p.m. EST on Dec. 22, and choose the Express Shipping option, will have guaranteed Christmas delivery within the United States.

Extra charges apply, and the offer does exclude certain items and delivery destinations. And if you order a Macy's gift card before 1 p.m. EST on Dec. 23, it will be electronically delivered via e-mail to your gift recipient by Christmas Day.

John Bailey, a spokesman for Nordstrom, says they offer a complimentary personal stylist who can work with you by phone, e-mail or social media to find the perfect present for each person on your list.

The personal stylists can shop for you on for eligible items before 3 p.m. EST on Dec. 23, with free delivery on Dec. 24. But this free personal stylist service will still be available for all your gifting needs through the end of business day on Christmas Eve.

If you must get dressed and head to the mall, there's still some tips to follow to make your experience as stress free as possible. Macy's spokeswoman Julie Strider Fukami, advises first creating a list of giftees, do some research and then create a plan of attack.

Most mall department stores and many major retailers have extended hours leading right up through Christmas Eve.

If you're planning a visit to a Westfield mall, one of the largest mall chains in the U.S., online maps of retailer locations and nearby parking can be found on their website at

There's also a new Westfield mobile app that's an easy fingertip guide once you arrive, providing store-to-store directions and pointing out nearby dining and restaurant options if you require refueling.

The app also displays current and last-minute deals from retailers, according to Kirk Thompson, a national spokesman for Westfield. The mall chain also offers a "Gift Suggestion of the Day" on Facebook, with loads of great ideas for the last-minute shopper.

One other consideration if you can't decide on a gift to give, think about making a charitable donation in a love one's name. Since the holidays are after all the time to be generous, and many of us get turned off by all the commercialization, this can be a great alternative.

Heifer International lets you make a donation that results in the gift of something tangible, such as a sheep to provide warm clothing for families living in harsh environments.

The American Red Cross allows you to donate much needed cash directly to victims of Typhoon Haiyan, or to the cause of your choice, and dedicate the donation in your giftee's name.

And the Make-a-Wish Foundation of America has made the wishes of hundreds of thousands of children with life-threatening medical conditions come true over the past 30 years. Visit their website for more information on how to give the gift of a wish.

Good Luck and Happy Holidays! Share some of your best last minute gift ideas below.



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