A convenient Christmas

Our guide to absolute last-minute shopping on a budget

December 16, 2010|BY TIFFANY ARNOLD |
  • This stuffed Santa can make an easy last-minute gift.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff photographer

This is the holiday gift guide for the other kind of last-minute shopper — the kind with people to shop for and only $20 to spend on them.
Oh, and it's late Christmas Eve. Really late.
Most people have bought at least one gift by now — 96 percent of consumers, according to the National Retail Federation. The remaining 4 percent are gift-buyers who the NRF says just got around to buying Christmas gifts this week.
But then there’s a second kind of shopper.
After the denouement of spending season, the final mall gate has closed, the last call for toys has passed and the window for cyber shopping has shut, the only thing open is the gas station convenience store — hence our "convenient" Christmas gift guide.
We customized a list of gas-station gifts for a family of four — a mom, dad, little boy and little girl — based what market researchers were projecting as the bestselling gifts. We then winnowed down the list by plucking top selling items at But if we went with Amazon’s bestsellers, we would have shelled out nearly $430 — slightly more than $394 the NRF projects consumers would spend on family gifts this season.
Remember, our budget is $20 and it is late Christmas Eve.

Top toy for girls: Barbie doll
 Amazon bestseller: Barbie Collector 2010 Holiday Doll, $35
 Gas station equivalent: Stuffed Santa, $6.25 with tax, purchased at Sheetz No. 074, 700 Potomac Ave., Hagerstown.

Top toy for boys: Video game
 Amazon bestseller: “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” $49.99
 Gas station equivalent: Aviator poker size playing cards, $2.74. Purchased at Sheetz No. 074, 700 Potomac Ave., Hagerstown.

Toy for dad: gadget
 Amazon bestseller: refurbished BlackBerryStorm 9530 world phone with a 3.15 megapixel camera, $124.38
 Gas station equivalent: Sheetz Phone Card, 75 minutes, $5.30 with tax. International rates vary; Domestic rates are billed at 6.7 cents per minute. Purchased at Sheetz No. 082, 301 E. Washington St., Hagerstown.

Toy for mom: accessories  
 Amazon bestseller: Coach Signature Soho pleated tote, $219
 Gas station equivalents:
• A rubber West Virginia University coin purse, $3.17 with tax, purchased at Pilot Travel Centers store No. 150, 1164 Greencastle Pike, west of Hagerstown;
• 14-ounce box Peppermint Crunch Junior Mints, $1.69, Sheetz No. 184, 16420 National Pike, west of Hagerstown.

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