by Monique Tamminga/Times Contributor
It’s less than a week away from Christmas and you haven’t started your shopping yet.
If this is you, don’t panic.
We’ve got plenty of last-minute gift ideas. The key to last-minute shopping is to make it look like you weren’t last-minute shopping.
A pretty piece of jewelry, a day at the spa, a bestselling book (see related story), a bottle of B.C. wine, or a gift card for two can keep your loved ones very happy on Christmas Day.
If you really want to wow that woman in your life, nothing says you care quite like diamonds.
“The classic go-to gift is diamond studded earrings,” said Sharon Lauze of Creative Goldsmiths in the Langley Bypass RioCan shopping mall.
“We get a lot of last-minute shoppers coming in without an idea of what to get,” she said.
At Creative Goldsmiths they can help you find something beautiful, no matter what the budget, Lauze added.
The hot jewelry this Christmas is gold bar necklaces. Those have been flying off the shelves, she said.
Engagement rings are very popular this time of year.
“We have engagement rings ready to go,” said Lauze. Another popular piece is diamond anniversary stacking bands in rose or white gold.
“That’s definitely a winner under the tree,” she elaborated.
If you’re on a budget, they have a large selection of sterling silver jewelry in their collection.
Creative Goldsmiths is even accommodating those last-minute shoppers by staying open late during the week.
It will be open Mondays through Fridays until 8 p.m. for the lead up to Christmas. Creative Goldsmiths is located at 20160 Langley Bypass.
Pamper Your Loved One
If you want to reward a hardworking loved one with a day of relaxation, a gift certificate to a Langley spa is a winner every time.
Spa Tru in the Coast Hotel and casino in Langley City has gift cards that will have your loved one pampered and relaxed in no time.
Spa Utopia is also a popular place to spend the day in total body bliss.
Gift An Experience
The trending gift idea this year is to give the gift of experiences.
Well Seasoned Gourmet Store has a delicious selection of cooking classes – both hands on or watch and eat.
Upcoming classes include ‘the perfect steak’ and making holiday desserts. Make sure to get two tickets for the class so you can come along or she can take a friend.
Books and Stocking Stuffers
Wendel’s Bookstore in Fort Langley has lots of stocking stuffers and gifts for the book lover in your life. And they have knowledgeable staff happy to guide you.
“We carry the Fred & Friends line, which has humorous stocking stuffers like animal tea infusers. We have sets of mugs selling for $12 that say things like ‘Too pretty for prison.’ Those sets have been flying off the shelves,” said Milena Raschpichler, bookstore manager at Wendel’s.
Funny socks are also popular this year, she said. Another line Wendel’s carries is ‘She Inspires’ with gifts that have messages like “wake up brave” or “warrior on.”
“Theses are empowering messages and can be a great gift to inspire women,” Raschpichler said.
As for book recommendations, she said they carefully choose books that apply to a wide range of readers. For instance, Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, is a bestseller.
“Often people come in having to buy for someone they don’t know that well. That’s where we can help. One book that is unique to the Fraser Valley and would be really good for a cross-section of people is Eating Local in the Fraser Valley,” she said.
This book celebrates local food producers and the fruits, vegetables, cheeses, wines, and meats they provide. Langley-based author Angie Quaale, foodie and owner of Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store, wrote the recipe book as a homage to the amazing farmers, producers and chefs in the region.
Another book that has been flying off the shelves is Learning How to Swear: An Illustrated Version by Stephen Wildish.
“When local actor Jacob Tremblay was filming a Seth Rogan produced movie here in Fort Langley, Jacob’s mom bought this book for a lot of the people on the set. It’s a clever book that suits a wide range of people,” said Raschpichler.
Bottle of B.C. Wine
You can’t go wrong with a nice bottle of B.C. wine. Save-On-Foods and Superstore in Langley carry a huge selection of local reds, whites – desserts and bubblies. Support Langley wineries and buy a Township 7 merlot or Backyard Vineyard’s rose. For something truly unique, try Vista D’Oro’s 2008 D’Oro walnut wine, made from green walnuts plucked from their 100-year-old tree on the bucolic Langley property.
The most popular place for last-minute shoppers is still the mall. With 140 retailers, you can get all your shopping done in one place, said Kaylesha Penner, marketing director for Willowbrook Shopping Centre.
“We are typically busy right up until the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Santa leaves at 1 p.m. to get ready to deliver presents around the world and that’s also when most people finish up their last-minute shopping,” Penner said.
The mall is open until 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 24. It is open until 9 p.m. every night prior to that.
For the wow-factor, she suggested jewelry from any of the jewellers in the mall. And accessories like a cashmere sweater or gloves are a nice touch.
“Beauty products like makeup palettes are big this year,” Penner added. “The experts at The Bay or Ecotique can help you pick out the right colours.”
Gift baskets from David’s Tea, Starbucks, Body Shop or Bath & Body Works are also popular. You can also give the gift of choice and give a gift certificate to the mall, she suggested.
Or, “a gift card ensures there are no exchanges or returns of your gift,” she said.
Penner everyone to get their gifts professionally wrapped at the charity gift wrapping centre across from Starbucks. All proceeds go to the Heart & Stroke Foundation.
Down to the Wire
If you are really out of time, 7-Eleven has more gift options than you would think.
They sell everything from drones and karaoke microphones to wireless phone chargers and headphones.
They also have a full selection of gift cards and scratch n’ wins.