Merry Christmas Eve. This early column is for all of you who find yourselves in basically three situations with less than 24 hours until Dec. 25:
1. You planned to leave all your shopping to today.
2. Time just got away from you and you realized shopping online won’t get gifts delivered on time.
3. You’re the shopper who needs to pick up just a few last-minute little things, like gift cards or stocking stuffers.
I admit that my skills at this point limit how I can help. After all, you only have so much time. So, here are some suggestions and advice.
First, if you think going to the mall and getting it all done in one place will work, be aware that St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights may open at 7 a.m. today, but it closes at 6 p.m. Check other stores in the metro-east, almost all also close early.
Quick mall sales through Dec. 24
For Mom: 40 percent off everything at Lane Bryant.
For a friend/neighbor: Buy two large candle jars at Yankee Candle and get two free with coupon code 512241601.
For the hard-of-hearing: After listening to a co-worker describe the sound bar she bought for a family member, please check at Best Buy and other electronic stores and ask about the Sony products that can complement any flat-screen TV. Some are specifically designed to filter out background sound and amplify voices, which may help a lot of hearing-impaired viewers. Yes, you will pay more, from about $300 (on sale) and up.
I’ve got the music in me: Desktop drum set with stands and tiny sticks is a mere $14.99 at Kirkland’s by the mall. For serving in style, ruffled monogrammed aprons are the same price.
A deal for guys: Sports Authority in Fairview Heights has $9.99 1/2-zip fleece shirts for men, regularly $25. You’ll find colors from camouflage green, bright orange to black and burgundy. Price good through Jan.2.
Sweet choices: HomeGoods in Fairview Heights is the place to go to find imported jams, jellies, syrups and more food gifts at rock-bottom prices. A great addition to a gift basket, choose from sweets like Scandanavian Delights Orange Fruit Spread (14 ounces) for $4.99 from Denmark, 12 ounces of organic orange blossom honey for $6.99 and (typically very expensive) fig jam from France for $3.99 (12 ounces).
Can’t forget the canine: While you’re at HomeGoods, check out the $9.99-$12.99 knitted sweaters and jackets for small pooches.
Finally, this retailer just cracks me up: You can’t miss the giant nutcracker in two pieces (too big for store ceiling) at HomeGoods. He’s pretty cool to see. Made out of wood, I’m not sure who’d buy him or where he’d go during the holidays, but the price tag said $2,999. Need a really big stocking.
Entertaining: Pick up $1 packs of mini 24-page coloring books with four crayons and a sheet of coordinating stickers at Schnucks in Swansea. Choose from all kinds of characters kids love: Minions, SpongeBob, Mickey and more. Great to take with you to keep little ones busy while out visiting or grab a few for home in case of boredom emergencies.
Cutely contained: Hobby Lobby, at its new location next to HomeGoods in Fairview Heights, has $5 foldable fabric boxes with matching lids in three styles: Pink/lion, orange/monkey and yellow/elephant. Size is 12 inches square.
Movie fans: Yes, Wehrenberg is a great card (buy online at wehrenberg.com or at theater, starting at $10), but don’t forget The Edge in Belleville. Super-great seating, sound and an adult lounge theater where drinks and food are brought to you. Get a gift card there, and you can use it for the theaters, lazer tag and the restaurant and bar. Go to edge618.com or 618-236-2101.
Beautification: Check out spa and salon gifts for the woman in your life. For example, Elite Retreat Day Spa & Salon in Belleville has a variety of holiday specials you can purchase through Dec. 31, including three pedicures for $99 and $25 off microdermabrasion treatments. Or, just buy a gift card for the amount you want and let the lady decide.
Summer fun: If the kids enjoy swimming, consider a gift card from Splash City in Collinsville. Buy a season pass for 2016 now and get 30 percent off through Dec. 31. Go to splashcity.org to see prices/packages (under rates) and call 618-346-7529 to purchase.
Chow down: If you know folks who enjoy eating at Eckert’s Country Restaurant in Belleville, pick up a handful of gifts cards and reward yourself, too: When you buy $50 worth, you’ll get a $10 bonus card. Offer good through Dec. 31.
For the foodie: L’Ecole Culinaire in St. Louis has gift certificates in increments starting at $10 for its public cooking classes as well as the Presentation Room Restaurant. Go to lecole.edu, pick the St. Louis location, then scroll down to the bottom and look for gift certificates. Or, call 1-866-205-2521.