Salvaging a Late Christmas Gift – What to do if it won’t arrive by the holiday.

Despite all the good intentions, often-times your perfect Christmas present won’t arrive in time to put under the tree! There are a myriad of reasons – out-of-stock, longer-then-expected shipping times, procrastination or a combination of errors – but it happens.

As an online retailer, this time of year we – at AirKayaks – field the “will-it-be-here-before-Christmas” question often! Here a a few ideas that can turn a potential disaster into a positive experience, ranging from basic to creative – each with an increasing amount of effort.


The No-Frills Approach
As stated! Print off a photo/spec sheet of the item you’ve purchased (color copy is best), put it in an envelope or box with approximate delivery time, and wrap it up just like any other present. If you want to take this a little farther, pick up a little item at a local store that is associated with the item purchase, for something “tangible.” Also works well for gift certificates.

The Tiered Approach
1) Pick up a number of boxes in varying sizes – large to small. Sometimes, the bigger range size you have, the better. Stock up on wrapping paper, ribbon and tape.
2) Print off a photo/spec sheet of the item you’ve purchased, put it in an envelope or smallest box with approximated delivery time, and wrap it up just like any other present.
3) Put THAT box inside the next larger box, and wrap that up. You can also include some type of weight to make it more interesting, as well as a note – “Oops! Forgot there was another box.”
4) Continue wrapping each box inside a larger box until you’re all done. Put that under the tree. Dialog throughout the unwrapping process also works, if you’re there.

The “Let’s Make A Deal” Approach
This entails a little more thought and effort, but can be quite fun and REALLY take the ultimate pressure off.

1) Pick up several (6 or more) boxes and wrapping paper.
2) Print off a photo/spec sheet of the item you’ve purchased, put it in an envelope or small box with approximate delivery time and place a note on it saying, YOU WON. Wrap it up just like any other present in one of the standard boxes.  Mark it 6.
3) Inside three of the boxes, put in a note and say “Sorry, wrong box!” Wrap them up and mark them 1, 2 and 3. You can put a stone or something inside for interest.
4) Take two more boxes and do the same thing, with a note like “Wrong again. Mark them 4 and 5.

For the approach, place out boxes 1, 2 and 3 and ask them which box they want. Having someone sing the jingle to Jeopardy works well for background. No matter which one they pick, they all say “wrong box”. Ask them if they want to keep the box they picked, or pick one of the remaining boxes, which also says wrong box. Add in box 4 and 5, and start again. Then add in Box 6 and ask them to pick between the remaining boxes. Worst case, 6 is the last one with the photo.

This one was a HUGE hit at a family gathering.

The Scavenger Hunt Approach
This is only for the creative souls, or the one’s who know they are going to be in DEEP TROUBLE on Christmas morning.

1) Run down to the local store and pick up a few, inexpensive knickknacks that could be associated with your missing present. For instance, we sell inflatable kayaks and paddle boards. A few suggestions would be a tube of sunscreen, safety whistle, waterproof wallet, waistpouch, small towel – three to five will work well dependent on the person.
2) Print off a photo/spec sheet of the item you’ve purchased and wrap it up with a note stating the approximate delivery time.
3) Pick out the same amount of “hiding spots” that have easy clues. Such as … “visit your favorite place to sit”, “look in the bedroom bureau drawer”, “where do you keep the car keys.”
4) Start off with a wrapped up knickknack with the first clue. For instance, the sunscreen with “You’re going to be needing this with what’s at your favorite place to sit.”
5) Continue placing the hidden presents/clues, ending up with, “now check under the tree.”
6) Under the tree is the wrapped up box with photo/spec sheet.

There are a myriad of ways to get through holiday gift-giving. The last one was my mother’s favorite, as she particularly loved getting lots of present – no matter how small – as well as the personalized approach.

Of course, these only work if you will be handing out the gift or putting it under the tree. If you’re still needing to send it somewhere, sometimes a plain old phone call helps.

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