And Aunt Molly, cousin Cindy and your new stepdad, Dale. There's nothing wrapped for them here, and it's making you wail "What can I get them that won't make them miffed?"
May I make a suggestion? Books make a great gift. They're easy to wrap and they're fun, there's no questions. So read on right now for some Christmas suggestions:
Everybody has someone that's hard to buy-for on their list, so here's an easy-to-give book: "The Alaska Almanac", now in its 28th edition (from Alaska Northwest Books). This handy little paperback will settle arguments, occupy kids, show up a showoff and entertain for hours. Wrap it up with a blanket for reading on those long, cold winter's nights.
Your true-crime fan won't want to let go of "Cold Crime" by Tom Brennan (Epicenter Press). This book is all about real stories about real-life high-profile crimes commintted and solved in Alaska. Here's a hint: give it for Christmas...then borrow it back and read it yourself!
No clue what to get that mystery lover on your list? How about "A Christmas Secret" by Anne Perry (Ballantine). A vicarage, a snowstorm, and danger...what more could anyone want under the tree this year?
That white stuff isn't so bad when you've got "Ken Libbrecht's Field Guide to Snowflakes" by Ken Libbrecht (Voyageur Press). This handy little guide will get you and the kids outside with a magnifying glass during every snowstorm. Don't forget the long-johns and mittens!
Does your family love to play games? You'll love it even more when you read "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game - and How It Got That Way" by Phil Orbanes (DaCapo Press). This is a book for players, trivia fans, gaming buffs, and anybody who ever saved their money up on a rainy summer afternoon so they could put a hotel on Boardwalk.
Does someone on your list believe that chocolate is one of the four major food groups? Then you simply have to give her (or him!) "The Essence of Chocolate" by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg (Hyperion). Recipes? Yes. History? You bet. And pictures so scrumptious, you'll have to fight not to lick the page.
For the nature lover, how about putting a quietly reflective book beneath the tree? "Why Buffalo Dance" by Susan Chernak McElroy (New World Library) is a good choice. This book is small enough to tuck in a backpack for a long walk; wrap it up with a birding guide for one of the best gifts ever.
Got a rebel wannabe on your list this year? She'll go wild for "Bad Girl: Confessions of a Teenage Delinquent" by Abigail Vona (Rugged Land). Vona was bad and that ain't good but teens will love this book for its honesty. Be aware that there are objectionable scenes and language in here, though.
Feel better now? You know what to find for last-minute gifts when you're out of your mind. So take this list, get the car and head for the mall and finish your shopping.
Season's Readings to all!