I don't know why Christmas always manages to "sneak up" on us...it gives at least two months of notice! Nevertheless, procrastination happens. If you're feeling the Christmas Eve crunch, here are some last-minute tips:
Last minute hostess gift
Restaurant.com gift certificates. Print them out on heavy paper, roll into a scroll, a tie with a pretty ribbon. Sometimes they're as low as $2 for a $25 gift certificate, so get more than one. (Just be sure to read the fine print...there are some limitations on when/how the certificates can be used.)
Last minute Christmas cards
Paperless Post! Not free, but less expensive than real cards and they'll get to the recipient on time. It's primarily an online invitiation service, but they do greeting cards as well. See my recent post for step-by-step directions.
Last minute wrapping paper
"Brown paper packages tied up with string...." No, seriously. If you have paper grocery bags, cut them up and use the unprinted side to wrap your gifts! Secure with tape, but tie a cotton string or yarn around it. Decorate with a black marker (music notes), green and red markers for holly, and include the line from the song so that the package makes sense! Suddenly, you're not cheap, forgetful, or lazy. You're nostalgic.
Last minute decorations
Didn't put up a tree? Make your table the focal point.
1) Tie a length of wide Christmas-y ribbon to the back of each chair, and let it cascade a few feet.
2) Place a coordinating runner on your table, but if you don't have one, use several strips of ribbon (ok, you're going to need a lot of ribbon) in its place. Pin the ribbon to the ends of the table cloth so that it stays put.
3) Fill a large glass bowl with ornaments, and accent with ribbon on the outside. Make that your centerpiece. Dim the lights, light some candles, turn on the Christmas tunes, and pour your guests a glass of bubbly. No one will miss the tree.
See my holiday tabletops for more inspiration!