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Ask a Patch Pro: Last Minute Gift Ideas

Got someone on your list who is hard to shop for? We've got Twin Cities style consultants on deck to help you find the perfect gift.

We all have at least one person in our lives that presents a perennial problem during the holidays: They're impossible to shop for. Maybe they're a vegan who can't countenance any animal products whatsoever, or a friend who is allergic to everything from angora to silk, or worse, the one who never wants anything.

Enter Melissa Hardin, creator of Flaunt, a mobile boutique run by a group of fashion artists and style consultants out of a studio in Fridley. Also on deck are Jennifer Zafft, Marketing Director for The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove, and Lisa Buck, a resident of the Lake Minnetonka area and veteran holiday shopper, and Kelly Bray of Zida Boutique in Burnsville.

Stymied? Whipshawed by confusion? These ladies will help you find a thoughtful, affordable gift on the fly.

MW December 19, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Worst: I got towels & a bath mat as a Christmas gift from someone who just happened to get too many as wedding gifts only two months before Christmas. It felt so insincere. Best: Television was turned OFF for a week. 2nd Best: A hand-written note promising flowers to be delivered on an unexpected, "regular" day (flowers were delivered months later when I wasn't expecting them).
MW December 19, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Consider working with others to give classes as gifts. Over the years we have given our girls "gift cards" for classes with someone they know. For example, my sis-in-law is a sign language interpreter and gave my daughters a dedicated afternoon teaching them sign language and giving them some materials to learn. An artist cousin gave a one-on-one art class with our daughter for a few hours. My brother gave a chess class. I was taught cake decorating. It is fun for the person giving the class to share their love with an eager learner, and the kids love the one-on-one time learning something new or a new approach to something already familiar to them. This could be done with anything--fishing, painting, baking, building models, photography, gardening, jewelry making, skiing, dancing, playing cribbage, learning words in a foreign language, etc. It is a special time for the teacher and the student!
Jennie Zafft December 19, 2012 at 03:39 PM
I would suggest going to Color Me Mine-- it is a really fun experience for the kids. They have all sorts of fun things to paint and the kids can pick out whatever they would like. It is a great chance for the kids to spend time together and something that they can keep forever. I also love books as gifts for kids-- you can get some great deals and it really opens up a whole new world for them!
Deanna Carciofini December 19, 2012 at 06:10 PM
I like to keep it local and support our local Stillwater businesses who typically struggle in the winter. I picked up some great flavored olives oils from Stillwater Olive Oil Company for gifts. You can add some great spices from Tradewinds or the new spice store two doors down from Stillwater Olive Oil Company. I also love giving Aveda holiday gift sets from A'Salonna in the Grand Garage or gifts from Cooks of Crocus Hill. And don't forget candy for the stockings from CandyLand. Please support the local businesses. Stillwater has some great ones: http://discoverstillwater.com/shopping/listings.php?category=13
Martina Tresenriter December 19, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Our family was adopted by a large company through our childrens school, they gave us a $100 gift card to Wal-Mart... so I have to buy them something from there. I figured we would buy them a gift from "Santa" there and then plan an individual date night with mom and dad from us. I really like that idea :)

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