How to prepare for that unexpected gift

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It’s 11 days until Christmas and we’re deep into the holiday shopping season. I thought it might be helpful to share holiday gift ideas. Here’s one of mine:

Almost every year I get pleasantly surprised by an unexpected holiday gift from a thoughtful acquaintance or two. Sometimes it’s a neighbor, a colleague, a teacher or one of my children’s friends. Since this person wasn’t on my gift shopping list, I generally don’t have a gift ready to exchange with them. This year I have a plan to not get caught with an empty gift bag. I’m buying gift cards and keeping them on hand, just in case. I just picked up a handful of gift cards from the Dunkin’ Donuts on Bel Air South Parkway — which I’m pleased to have as a Bel Air News & Views sponsor. The beauty of the gift card is that you can use it any time. If you’re unlucky enough not to get any unexpected holiday gifts, you can give away the gift cards for birthdays or end-of-year teacher gifts. (Oh, I just remembered I need to give one to my daughter’s bus driver.) I’m going to tuck mine into some holiday cards that I can sign in a hurry when needed and pretend I had this planned all along. However, if you happen to get one from me, rest assured I was thinking of you when I bought these today 😉