The race is on. If you’re reading this online Thursday, you’ve got a little more time than those of you picking up the paper Friday. The 48-hour rule kicks in now: Whatever it is you haven’t done for Christmas probably just got harder to do.
So, here are some suggestions, both practical and quirky, if you’re still looking for gifts. Yes, you’ll have to get in the car and go buy them. At this point, buying online will cost you more, with the significant add-on of shipping overnight, if even that applies. Plus, it’s typically only available through mega online retailers like Amazon.
One note of caution, I found these items Tuesday in the stores or checked with stores on Wednesday to see if they were available on site. In some cases, merchandise was limited.
This one is for “Star Wars” fans of all ages: You’ll find Darth Vader Helmets as 3D wall nightlights ($31.99 on sale) at the Belleville and Fairview Heights Target. Or, if you’re not a fan of the evil one, R2D2, a single BB8 (at Belleville, but more at Shiloh store) and three Boba Fett for the same price. These are more like wall lamps than nightlights; they’re about the size of a human head! Very popular. Other styles are gone from store.
Gordman’s in Fairview Heights has Fighting Illini, Mizzou, Blues and Cardinals gear, from T-shirts and caps to half-zip and lounge pants, buy one, get for a buck.
Majik Over The Door Basketball is perfect for the guy who needs a little downtime to practice his free throws. This down-sized arcade-style game hangs easily on a door and can be played in one- and two-player game modes. It has two double-shot hoops, electronic scoring with seven different game options and costs $15 at Walmart in O’Fallon. Includes two balls and an inflating pump.
Menard’s in O’Fallon has men’s Thinsulate leather dress gloves with fingers that let you use touch-screen devices. They’re $8.99 a pair.
If you want anything beauty-related, head to Ulta Beauty next to Bed, Bath & Beyond in Fairview Heights. Spend $40 on a fragrance and get a bathrobe free, with three styles for women and one for men — while supplies last. Want to spend less? A set of three face and eye brushes in a travel case is $19.50. Plan to spend more? Get a gift card good for the salon.
At World Market in Shiloh, it’s buy one, get one free on all clothing, accessories and jewelry. You’ll find an eclectic collection of scarves and international jewelry at prices under $15 and $20.
If you need last-minute stocking stuffers, check TJ Maxx and Marshall’s for extra-cozy, thick winter house socks that are priced under $10.
I don’t know too many women who wouldn’t want a pretty full-length mirror to stand in a dressing or bedroom. At Home in O’Fallon has a nice selection, from a dainty painted metal oval mirror on a two-footed stand for $49.99. Picture-frame mirrors with easel backs are $59.99 and $79.99 and come in a silver, white, oval wood and other designs.
For the kids
The newly opened Academy Sports + Outdoors in O’Fallon offers a variety of kids’ stuff, from $9.99 Rawlings basketballs and $19.99 Propel Atom Micro Drones to the $29.99 Nerf Zombie Strike Brainsaw Blaster and brand name bikes priced from $29.99 to $59.99. Buy a $50 gift card and get a $10-off coupon.
Look what’s back: Down-sized, hand-held Simon for $12.99 at Ben’s in downtown Belleville. Batteries included (yeah) in this great memory game. For ages 7 and up. Or, how about the Spirograph Deluxe Set for $29.99? Cool geometric patterns to create. Includes pens, pencils and markers. Great gift for a kid who loves to color and draw.
Unique gift ideas
The Cheesekeeper in the Arcades Shopping Center on West Main Street in Belleville will help you pick out a great bottle of wine, gourmet treats or, for a coffee lover, a pound of beans. Gift baskets available and custom made but check what can be put together at such late notice. Call 618-398-7184.
Head to Peace by Piece in downtown Belleville and check out Fripptic jewelry, made by Belleville artisan Heather Holland-Daly. Her intricate wire and bead-woven pendants, necklaces, earrings and bracelets are one of a kind. While you’re there, check out all the other merchandise, none of which you’ll find at the mall.
Give a gift card
Remember to include the receipt when you give a gift card. Occasionally, the cards do not get activated and a receipt is proof that it should be.
Don’t forget The Edge in Belleville. Get a gift card there, and you can use it for the theaters, laser tag, the restaurant and bar. Go to edge618.com or 618-236-2101.
At Wehrenberg’s, get a reloadable gift card for $10 to $100. And remember, they’re good not just on tickets, but food, too. Can be purchased at the theater or online at wehrenberg.com.
Check your favorite car wash. The Clean Machine on North Belt West in Belleville and Auto Spa in Fairview Heights have gift cards for that person in your life who just bought a vehicle and can’t keep it clean enough.