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Amber J. Tresca

Rethinking the "Last-Minute" Gift

By December 17, 2012

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I drove past the local mall today, and it was downright frightening. The traffic was backed up for at least a mile, and based on the sirens I heard, there was apparently also an accident nearby. I'm glad I don't need to go anywhere near the mall for the rest of the year, and I really had sympathy for anyone who did. I do know what it's like to be in a pickle at the last minute, and it can happen to the best of us, even to those who don't consider themselves procrastinators. But what can you do at the last minute besides going to the mall?

As adults, most of us already have too much "stuff." Our houses are packed with items we seldom use, or even never use. Even the kids collect toys and clothes from almost everyone they know, and the end of the year turns into a chorus of "where are we going to put all this?" The truth is that we should be using this time to better ourselves and to help our fellow human beings. For an adult who is struggling with health issues, there is probably something more meaningful you can do for them besides giving them a gift that they might not need. For those of us who have the luxury of comfort this holiday season, there are some sacrifices we can make that will truly help someone in need -- even though we might never know who they are or they us.

Trisha Torrey, About.com Guide to Patient Empowerment, has some excellent "un"holiday gift ideas that you can give today, tomorrow, next week, or even next year. Read through this list and see if it doesn't change how you're thinking about that race to find the "perfect" last-minute gift.

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