Gifts won't arrive in time for holidays.
December 17, 2006 11:59 PM   Subscribe

Gifts won't arrive in time for holidays. What to do?

Bought multiples of an item online weeks ago and now the #$%&ing store says they are out of stock (well, they say they will ship them soon after the holidays). So, having already purchased them, I'm looking for ways to give these at Christmas without actually having the actual item?
Anything other than a empty box with a picture/description?
posted by artdrectr to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Make a nice drawing of the item and put it in an attractive picture frame?
posted by shanevsevil at 12:36 AM on December 18, 2006

If it's something that you can use with accessories, then you can wrap up an accessory gift...e.g. if it was a DVD player, you could wrap up a DVD for each person along with a note about the soon-arriving DVD player. If it was an iPod it could be a cool iPod case or headphones. If you need help thinking of an accessory gift, let us know what you had bought.
posted by tastybrains at 1:26 AM on December 18, 2006

We also need to know the ages of the people you bought for. If they are little kids you may just have to deal with it and buy new presents at a store. Little kids don't do delayed Xmas presents ...
posted by thatwhichfalls at 1:41 AM on December 18, 2006

Bought multiples of an item online weeks ago...

You buy Christmas presents in bulk?

If you're just fulfilling a minor gift-exchanging formality for all of your employees or all of your wives at the compound, and you don't think they're worth that present plus another gift (one you buy at the store before Christmas), make a "ha ha isn't it funny my gift won't arrive in time but I swear I'm not Ebenezer Scrooge and you'll get your gift for New Year's Day sorry sorry sorry ho ho ho" note for each of them.

If it's a present for people dear to you, get other presents to give on time for Christmas. Then give the originally planned presents as Happy 2007 gifts. You'll bumble into appearing more generous and thoughtful than you had intended to be.
posted by pracowity at 2:25 AM on December 18, 2006

Personally I wouldn't dream of buying replacement gifts unless the first lot were things I could then keep and give for birthdays/etc next year. The accessory idea sounds good, but does depend on what the original is/who it's for.

However, any little kids I know could certainly deal with late Christmas presents, and if they can't then it's an ideal opportunity to begin teaching them to be acceptable human beings.
posted by jacalata at 5:11 AM on December 18, 2006

Send a nice Merry Christmas email or snail mail to explain the delay. You could even send a funny poem, or a funny e-card.

Or, cancel the order, get a refund, buy a new batch of presents and fed-ex.
posted by LoriFLA at 6:24 AM on December 18, 2006

2 friends have bought me gifts this year and have informed me will not arrive for xmas. its no big deal they came and explained and i was ok with it. just deliver the bad news in a jovial manner and you will be fine.

come to think of it 2 friends maybe they are just cheap!
posted by moochoo at 6:30 AM on December 18, 2006

I like vanoakenfold's suggestion.

Other than that, a very nice card (possibly even handmade) with a little note about Santa getting a speeding ticket or something, and their presents are on the way?
posted by jesirose at 7:03 AM on December 18, 2006

On the occassions that this has happened to me - I would print out the picture and description of the item and wrap it up in a box. I'd even go as far as printing out the order confirmation to prove that you have indeed ordered said item (and that it's the store's fault).
posted by Sassyfras at 7:09 AM on December 18, 2006

Depending on the situation I either go Sassyfras's route or I cancel the order and frantically search for gifts that I can buy in-store. It depends on how rare the gift is.
posted by muddgirl at 7:25 AM on December 18, 2006

I've blatantly told a few of my nearest and dearest that they are getting "Happy New Year" presents due to the timing of my budget and the time it takes to ship their gifts. They're pretty cool with that.

I like the "Santa got a speeding ticket" idea - another variation on that is to say that the gifts are simply too awesome for Santa to fit on his sleigh and he has to make a special second trip.

(If these are gifts for kids though, I echo the sentiment that you have to find SOMETHING to give them on Christmas Day because kids don't really understand the nature of time. Not that I do either, but I've been subdued by years of bitter experience to accept gifts given at a later date.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:26 AM on December 18, 2006

Oh, to answer your actual question, a photo in a box of the gift can be as entertaining as you make it. My parents gave my husband a subscription to the Economist last year and give him a portrait of John Maynard Keynes in a frame as his under-the-tree gift. He loved it and proudly displayed the portrait until it started to fade. Stupid low quality printer ink.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:29 AM on December 18, 2006

I think a photo of the gift and an explanatory note cover your bases.
posted by modernnomad at 8:15 AM on December 18, 2006

Thanks for all the good ideas, folks.
OK, the mysterioso gifts are (drumroll)... Candelas, sending to five of the adult couples in the family, so luckily the late shipping won't be disappointing the young kids.

I'll probably use a variation of several of your ideas. A fun portrait of the wifelysort and I with the lights as well as a description on back with a product shot, in a gift box.

(pracowity: buying gifts in bulk is far from my normal m.o., but we really dig these little lights and people are always asking about them, so I don't think it's a bad thing they're getting similar gifts).
posted by artdrectr at 8:25 AM on December 18, 2006

I second modernnomad. Make a nice card, and on the inside, have a picture for the Candelas on the inside, and a handwritten caption that says "Coming Soon!" The picture is easy to accomplish with an internet connection and color printer.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 9:49 AM on December 18, 2006

Probably off the wall: Perhaps the gift could be a bit like a paper-chase, but with a time element involved. I'm thinking National Treasure here, where one of the clues couldn't be used until the clock was showing a particular time. If a clue can't be completed until a later date, you could plant the presents as the "treasure" after they've arrive but before the recipients can completed the clues to find them.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:26 PM on December 18, 2006

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