For many at this point, holiday shopping is said and done.  At least for those buying online, most orders have been placed, and fingers are crossed that UPS/Fed-Ex will deliver in time for this week’s holiday parties or Christmas Eve.  But — just because the shopping is done, doesn’t mean the gift-giving work is complete.  There’s the wrapping, card-writing, and personalization aspect of handing over that package.  Who said gift-giving is an easy endeavor?!

A few trends that have grown in popularity in recent years, to help ease gift-giving (and receiving!) pains:

Gift-receipts — According to the National Retail Federation, six out of ten people include a gift receipt most or some of the time when giving gifts.  This % has grown from 58.5% last year, and 56.9% in 2006.  Including a gift receipt certainly eases some of the burden on the recipient if they wish to return the item.  Store return policies vary: here’s our comprehensive list of return policies and tips to make returns easy.

gift receipt

**E-gift cards **— If you’re in a bind, many retailers now offer the option to email the recipient with an electronic gift card code, so you can make a purchase in true last-minute style.  Eco-minded recipients may also appreciate the electronic nature of this present.  The retailers themselves often offer this e-gift card service (Nordstrom, JCrew, and Neiman Marcus are offering virtual gift cards, among dozens of other retailers) or you can use a service like GiftZip to purchase e-gift cards.  Some retailers, like Sephora, are integrating e-gift cards with Facebook, so they show up on the recipient’s wall at the designated time/date you specify.

**Free Gift Wrapping – **Some retailers include a gift wrap kit, or free gift wrapping with the purchase of an item.   L’Occitane includes a gift wrap kit with each purchase, Gap brands include a complimentary gift box with purchase, and at Borders, among other bookstores, you can request them to hand-wrap your gift if you purchase in a store.

Best of luck with your last-minute gift preparation!