Last Minute Christmas Shopping

By Sandra Sylvester | Dec 17, 2012

Knox County — The most panicky last-minute shopper I ever knew was my Aunt Freda Hilton. She always did things at the last minute and was also notoriously late for events. If we invited her to a family doing we told her it was an hour earlier and maybe then she might show up on time.

In my high school years I worked at Newberrys during vacations and in the summer. Therefore, I was usually working on Christmas Eve when the stores on Main Street were open late.

I always looked for Aunt Freda to show up close to closing time to do her last-minute shopping, usually stocking stuffers. I’d help her if I could even though she was usually in a tizzy about getting everything just right for Christmas. She managed to do just that, however, and we enjoyed many happy Christmas afternoons at her farm in Bremen.

If you have some last-minute Christmas shopping to do I have some suggestions.  Most of this information I got from the Courier Gazette site online. This year it is important, because of the economy, to buy locally if you can and try to patronize the smaller stores. Most of these suggestions pertain to local areas in Maine, but the same or similar items could probably be found in whatever area you live in.


Recently I read about a warehouse-type store in the South End I think, in the Industrial Park. They make homemade toys for kids. I’d check there for unique gifts for kids. There is also a toy store on Main Street and a place called “Out on a Whimsay” in Belfast. They have something called a “Red Tool Box” which has tools to fit small hands and woodworking kits. The Belfast store is at 133 High Street, 207-338-3911.

Gift Cards

Gift cards are always an easy and very appreciated gift. Here’s an unusual place to get one: Union Farm Equipment on Rt. 17 and 31 in Union, 1-800-935-7999. They have cards for $50, $45, and a card worth $100 for just $90. Do you have a gardener or someone who does a vegetable garden every year who would appreciate such a gift?

How about a gift card from your local spa for a special lady on your list? Sogno Salon on Main Street in Rockland, has a deal for 25% off stocking stuffers/travel-size products. Ask them about spa treatments too: 207-594-2422,


How about a plant for Christmas or a gift card to use in the Spring to purchase bedding flowers? Plants Unlimited also does two trips that would be great gifts. One is the very popular Boston Flower Show on, March 14 and 16. It includes tickets to the show and transportation. Call 207-594-7754 to sign up.

Another trip Plants Unlimited does is the New England International Auto Show, also in Boston. Call the above number for details. Plants Unlimited is on Rt. 1 in Rockport:


If you are a crafty person, use your talents to make presents for your family and friends. It may be too late to put these items on the last-minute list, but think about it for next year. My sister, Sara, has made me crafty items which I use every day. One is a cloth pouch that sits on my desk to collect the little stuff that clutters things up. I also use the credit card holder she made for me.

If you are into scrapbooking, it could be a good project to do for one particular person every year. Before there was a word known as “scrapbooking” my Grandmother Ida Tolman made all of us kids a personal scrapbook. As I remember, it was done on construction paper of different colors and held together with big rings. In it she put pictures she’d cut out of magazines like the latest cars, family pictures and the like. If I could still find mine today it would serve as a history lesson for that era. I know I must have looked at those pictures a thousand times or more.

Grammie Tolman never bought a Christmas gift for anyone in her life. She made everyone in the family something for Christmas and it’s a big family. It might only be a crocheted doily or a crocheted snowflake which was stiffened with starch, to put on your tree, but years later many of us still have something she made.

The above-mentioned Aunt Freda also made me an afghan with “Georgia” colors, peach and green and yellow. I treasure it and think of her every time I use it. It’s the last present she ever gave me.

Don’t forget the many Christmas Craft Fairs that abound during this time. Usually the churches hold them. Check the paper for days and times. Often you can find unique gifts to wrap up for Christmas presents.


Visit your local art studios or galleries and get a piece of art for a special person on your list while supporting the artist at the same time.


A good present to get someone who has everything is a basket filled with one thing or another. Sometimes they are sweets and candied fruit or sometimes you can get smoked meat products and cheese. Check your local area or the mall near you for holiday baskets. They have the basket to use later also.

A night out or a place to stay

Craignair Inn and Restaurant has a great gift card idea too. It’s good for Friday night burger nights; special dinner events like New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day; or for an overnight stay any time of the year. Have guests for the holidays or even in the summertime who would enjoy this gift? Call 207-594-7644,

Online Shopping

It may be too late to do much more shopping online and have your items get to you by Christmas. However, if you do choose this route, check their delivery schedules before you commit to an order. Sometimes they have a one-day shipment or just a few days—if you want to pay extra for it.

Every major store chain has an online site where you can order goods. I would recommend; pottery barn, which has lots of deals; and

Overstocked has lots of discounted items and even slightly used or refurbished items, especially electronics, that are really good deals. 

I wish you luck in your last-minute shopping ventures. I have a couple of friends who love to go shopping. They call it “shopping therapy.” I bet they are having a ball shopping for Christmas presents.

By the way, LLBean has needlepoint Christmas stockings on their site. If you want fancy go to their site. While you’re there maybe you’ll find other stuff to buy. Keep it in Maine!

My shopping is done or as much as I’m going to do. I got some good bargains too.

Thanks for listening.


SPECIAL NOTE: I have commented on the recent school shootings in Connecticut on my South End Stories Facebook page.





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