There are mere hours left until Christmas Eve. Here’s a handy cheat sheet to make sure you’ve got everything handled without going broke.
Buy a case of wine. That way, you’ll have 10 bottles on hand for hostess gifts, tokens of appreciation and last-minute gifts for people you might have accidentally been left off your list. Retailers typically give at least a 10 percent discount when you buy by the case, but the Wine Room at 5272 Main St. in Williamsville gives 15 percent off a case and lets you mix and match bottles.
Hostess gifts. It’s never until you’re on your way out the door that you remember to bring a little something for the party host. It’s a good thing you bought that case of wine, huh? If not, a growler full of beer will make you the most popular person at the shindig. Try a 64-ounce fill of Gingersnap Stout ($12) from Community Beer Works at 15 Lafayette Ave., which is open between 3 and 7 p.m. tonight. Many Consumer’s Beverages stores are open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and Flying Bison Brewery, 491 Ontario St., is open from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Christmas Eve.
Hit your bank’s ATM for tip money. This is another thing we tend to forget until the last minute and end up paying an ATM surcharge. Etiquette expert Diane Gottsman suggests tipping your baby-sitter an additional night’s pay, your newspaper delivery person $10, trash collectors $10 to $25 per person and a health care aide up to a week’s pay. Mail carriers are prevented from accepting cash, but they can take a gift valued at less than $20.
Extended store hours. You won’t have to cobble together last-minute gifts out of lottery tickets and snow brushes at the gas station this year. Several retailers are offering extended hours for all the lollygaggers.
Macy’s will keep all its local stores open from 7 to 2 a.m. today and from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Toys R Us will be open 24 hours until 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Kmart is open around the clock until 10 p.m. Christmas Eve. Target is open from 7 a.m. to midnight tonight and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Christmas Eve.
Kohl’s is open around the clock until 6 p.m. Christmas Eve. Best Buy is open from 7 a.m. to midnight today and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Christmas Eve. Some items at Best Buy can be ordered online and picked up at a local store within an hour.
Lots of locally owned businesses have extended hours, too. For example, the Broadway market at 999 Broadway is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Christmas Eve. Learning Express Toys at 2410 Military Road in Niagara Falls is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Christmas Eve. Treehouse Toys in Buffalo is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Christmas Eve.
Instant shipping on social media. Just because it’s too late to have anything shipped doesn’t mean you can’t shop online. An app called Yiftee lets you order local gifts for $20 or less from small businesses and have them “delivered” immediately on Facebook in the form of a digital gift card. There are participating retailers in towns from Buffalo to Los Angeles.
Helpful Christmas tip. One thing that can help keep the peace on Christmas morning is a manual can opener, which can be used to open that tricky, plastic clamshell packaging.