It's not uncommon for holiday festivals to continue well into January. Even if the tree has officially left the curve and the decorations are stashed in the shed, your loved ones' visiting schedules might still be running on holiday time. If you have a large extended family or a few dear friends who live in faraway places, there are probably still wrapped presents waiting in a pile for their lucky recipients to finally stop for that glass of wine or friendly Wii tennis match you've been planning since November.
And then there are the surprise guests. They're just as lovely – even more so, if you're into surprises – but that pile of glittery green and red gifts could soon become something you'd like to throw a tarp over if there's not a little something in there for your impulsive-but-still-oh-so-special visitor. Avoid even the slightest twinge of unnecessary guilt by preparing your own inventory of emergency holiday gifts for just such an occasion. Here are five ideas to get you started:
1. Without your guest swarms off jewelry completely, giving a simple, dainty charm necklace or set of thin, handmade bangles is a safe bet. Even if she prefers heavy accessories, a gal can never have too many layering options.
2. Removable, reusable wall décor that revitalize nursery, kitchen, and office spaces without nails, messy installations, or commitment. Wrap a spare set of chalkboard panel decals perfect for professors-in-training and amateur pastry chefs, or tie a ribbon around a bright kids' room kit for redecorating parents and mothers-to-be.
3. Your visitor would be thrilled to own a gorgeous hardcover art or photography book filled with fascinating abstractions or images of natural wonders, funky hotel rooms, or celebrities made up to look like classic film stars. Find a local bookstore and stock up on universal treasures anyone would love to display on a coffee table or bookshelf.
4. Tabletop picture frames made from reclaimed wood are environmentally chic and a classy way to display the candid you can take while your surprise guest is visiting. If you're still wearing pajamas when the doorbell rings, resurrect two of your fanciest sequined costumes and get a few artsy shots.
5. When all else fails, relatively expensive drinking chocolate is a gift most people would adore, but would not necessarily splurge on for themselves. That's what you're here for, right?
The trick is to wrap your emergency gifts ahead of time and keep a supply of blank gift tags on hand. That way, when you say "I've got a gift just for you," it will not feel like too big a little white lie.