How time flies when you put off your Christmas shopping. Before you know it, shipping deadlines have passed and you still haven't decided what to get, um, anyone on your list.
Happily for procrastinators and anyone confronted with a surprise giftee -- no one mentioned Aunt Barb would be coming over! -- last-minute gifts don't have to look last-minute.
Here are a few ideas for when the clock is ticking.
* Choose your own adventure
Whether it's white-water rafting, racing a stock car or playing fighter pilot for a day, a memorable experience beats a hastily selected sweater any day. At Cloud9living.com, sift through dozens of experience gifts in 43 U.S. cities and choose the one that best suits the giftee, who can later choose a convenient date to fulfill their adventure.
Not sure if your loved one would prefer a hot-air balloon ride or a chocolate walking tour? The giftee can exchange the experience for free if he or she doesn't like the one you choose, or return it outright by Jan. 31.
If you have a few days, you can order a gift box containing the certificate, brochures and a DVD of the experience, but if you're strapped for time just e-mail or print out the gift certificate.
* Monthly surprise
Why should December have all the gift-giving fun? Signing someone up for a hobby-of-the-month club guarantees a gift will arrive at their doorstep every month for as long as you choose (usually for three, six, nine or 12 months).
There's a club for almost any interest: At amazingclubs.com, you can order monthly gifts of hot sauce, candles, jerky, coffee, neckties, teddy bears, pasta, olive oil, even gourmet peanut butter and jelly. At monthclubstore.com, you can order monthly golf balls, pickles, spa body-care products and a host of other items. You can send a gift announcement by mail or e-mail, or just print out a gift message and stick it in a card.
* Custom apparel and accessories
Speedy custom designs on T-shirts, mugs, bags, clocks, pillows, magnets, bumper stickers and other items can make last-minute gifts seem highly personal. No time to think about customizing? Mooch off other people's creativity.
At zazzle.com, logos and designs targeting people's interests -- environmentalists, art enthusiasts, tech geeks -- help you nail the perfect gift for someone's personality. At cafepress.com, create or pick fun designs for yoga mats and iPhone cases, among many other items.
Both sites are procrastinator-friendly, even for custom orders. To guarantee Christmas Eve delivery (with express shipping costs), order by 3 p.m. Dec. 22 at zazzle.com, and by noon Dec. 23 at cafepress.com.
* Style police
Give the gift of a stylish new wardrobe to a man with little time or patience to set foot in a store. The best part: You don't have to set foot in a store either. At trunkclub.com, personal stylists consult with clients across the country by phone, e-mail or Web cam to discuss their style and needs, and then they handpick high-end clothes and FedEx them to the client's house.
Guys can try the clothes on at home, consult with their stylist if they need advice, and return whatever they don't like. They pay only for what they keep; there's no membership or return fee. Gift certificates, available at a minimum of $250, are available in paper or e-mail form, so you can just print it out and tuck it in a card.
* Gourmet to go
From a tote bag full of candies to a basket brimming with ingredients for an Italian feast, Dean and Deluca's gift baskets will warm the heart (and stomach) of any gourmet. Go to deandeluca.com to select a ready-made basket or create a custom gift with your choice of basket, bag or box -- they even offer a leather trunk -- and fill it with recommended items sure to please a grill-master, snacker or coffee aficionado. Order by Dec. 23 for next-day delivery.
* Spa solutions
It's hard to go wrong with a gift certificate to a spa. Spafinder.com gives you the most flexibility because the gift certificates are accepted at more than 5,000 spas around the world.
Spaemergency.com, a site dedicated to the last-minute spa gift, is accepted at 3,000 salons and lets you pick cute designs for your gift certificate so it looks fancier than a standard print-out coupon. If you want to specify a salon and treatment, Spaemergency.com also offers a guide for how to figure out what your lady might like -- and how to introduce a reluctant man to the world of pampering.
* Helping hand
If you've been having trouble thinking of what the people on your list need -- well, maybe they don't really need anything. In true holiday spirit, give your loved ones charitable gift cards to benefit people and causes that have far more to worry about than shipping deadlines.
Many charities let you buy specific gifts in a giftee's name: At oxfamamericaunwrapped.com, buy a child a school desk and chair; at heifer.org, buy a family a llama; at worldwildlife.org, adopt a dolphin that could use conserving.
Several sites, including justgive.org and networkforgood.org, let you buy general gift cards that recipients can use toward a charity of their choice. All gift certificates are printable from the websites.