It’s December, there are only a couple or so weeks left until company arrives for some eggnog and cookies, and you— like many other super-busy, “wait till the last moment then invade the shopping malls and hope you can still find a decent buy” citizens — are planning to cram all the shopping in one marathon day. Or maybe you’ve done your shopping long ago, when that tax refund check came in, but need a few last-minute things. Or maybe you hoped to shop online but got lost in the depths of cyberspace and next thing you know, Christmas is coming and your presents are not.

Either way, if the thought of sharing the slow roads with drivers who forget their manners this time of year makes you feel like you’ve just swallowed a lemon ball, don’t start scratching your head just yet. It may sound too good to be true, but the Key Peninsula shops are full of gift ideas for everyone from kids and gardeners to sportsmen and maybe even those who have everything—as long as they’ve been good this year.

Below are some ideas, but don’t wait until the day before to visit these Santa’s elves, or you may find yourself stalking the supermall after all. And if you plan to buy a December-theme present, be merry and deliver it at least a week early, so the recipient can enjoy it this season.

Sunnycrest Nursery in Key Center, besides being a gardener’s paradise, has Christmas decorations, wreaths and all sorts of presents from $10 miniature angels and dragon fly indoor/outdoor lights to a $225 gardener’s rack. Candleholders, garden art, Japanese-themed décor, and unique gifts are mixed in with live trees, tabletop centerpieces, keepsakes, dozens of holiday decorations and other items. For the gardener, owner Claudia Loy recommends the really comfortable “anywhere shoes,” waterproof and available in a rainbow of colors, or any nice pots or durable tools. The shop makes wreaths and other holiday live pieces, which can be shipped anywhere in the country and around the world (allow extra time for shipping). “We can take care of a lot of your last-minute gifts,” she says.

Across the street, at Capitol Lumber, you’ll find a nice selection of tools and other necessities that would make for nice gifts for the handyman in your life.

Nimrick’s Furnishings Old and New, across from the library in Key Center, specializes in new and vintage items—but also sneaks in watches, jewelry, perfumes, miniature collectibles and even toys and tools. If you’re after antiques, you could  find some of those too. At the end of November, a new leather couch shared the showroom with vintage dishes, a compressor, a grill, fishing items, books, silverware, paintings, vases, dolls, and of course, lots of furniture. Co-owner Geri Nimrick said the shop will be festively decorated in December and an open house is being planned, with refreshments and a new shipment ordered just for the holidays.

Country Gardens, off State Route 302 near the 76 gas station, is all decked up for Christmas with sparkling ornaments begging to be bought, with several trees decorated in themes, from golden to snowflake-white to feather-made. Even a 3-foot-or-so-tall Santa is for sale. If you are looking for a unique gift, this is the place. Stuffed Christmas bears and other animals, vases, picture frames, nature-themed gifts, artificial centerpieces, birdhouses, pottery, angels, even a Santa “bottle buddy” and a beautiful lighthouse votive candle holder are some possibilities. You may only find one or so of each item, but there is a good assortment.

Serenity Salon and Consignment Boutique features handmade crafts from local and regional artists. Lakebay artist Don Potter’s fused glass earrings and other jewelry was on sale in November, along with “Lamp Creations” by Lakebay’s Janeto Kurasawa, inexpensive bracelets perfect for young ladies, colorful hand-sewn hats,  dolls by Key Pen’s Patty Boettger and more. The selection varies each month, but the artists keep their creations coming. You can find one more gift at Serenity: a holiday “de-stressing” package for $100 that includes one-hour massage, manicure, and pedicure along with coffee or lunch—which overstressed, overshopped holiday conniver would frown on that? She will definitely thank you come Dec. 27. And for the men not too worried about perfect toenails, you could buy a $150 package that has four blissful hours of massage.

Cost Less Drugs, in Wauna’s Lake Kathryn center, has much more than pharmaceutical necessities. If you’ve never visited this mini-department store, you’ll be surprised to discover that its offerings range from knick-knacks and home décor to small appliances, kitchenwares, games and hunting/fishing supplies. You’ll find Coke and Harley memorabilia, trout everything—mugs, clocks, candle holders, calendars —along with children’s books and toys; action sets like space explorers, work crews and fire squads; science kits for building an electrical motor or “observing” a volcano; all sorts of models and paints; cappuccino makers; omelet pans; camping and outdoor gear all the way up to two-person inflatable boats and float-tubes. On  Dec. 10, you have the perfect excuse to come shopping: Santa will pose for free photos, refreshments will be served, and holiday sales will abound during the store’s annual open house.

Coast to Coast Hardware, next door, has a variety of bits and pieces for the handyman, along with rifles and camping gear.

If you are hoping for a more personalized gift, head over to Great Age Ceramics off KP Highway, where owner Virginia Whitney uses some 3,000 molds to create pottery pieces, which you can then paint yourself any way you’d like. Native American, Disney characters, picture frames, jewelry boxes, vases, cookie jars,  steins, bowls, dolls, magnets, carousel horses, lamps, colanders—there is hardly anything Whitney hasn’t thought of. Ornaments start at 75 cents and the most expensive pieces like pitchers are $15 (but most are much less); you can pay $1.50 classroom fee, and use Whitney’s workspace, paints, brushes and expertise to custom-create that perfect gift. Children are welcome as well: Buy a picture frame for under $10, have your child decorate it with his or favorite-color paint, sneak in a photo—and watch grandma’s face light up when she opens her present. Whitney suggests calling (884-9681) before you go.

And if you don’t mind venturing slightly past the Purdy Bridge, save a couple of hours for visiting Country Expressions. You will definitely need some time to venture through the cozy shop, which has every inch packed with treasures from Victorian and distressed to outdoor-theme, maritime, even cats and dogs. You will have to make your way around several times, as your eyes will wonder around from corner to corner, and you’ll hear yourself say, “Aw, cute” every few minutes. Beware, you will likely not leave this shop without buying something for yourself, once you see the great prices. If you go soon enough, you may even still find the “Aw, cute” moose holding a chalkboard, counting down the days left till Christmas.

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