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Is your long holiday list short on time?

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By Laura Clark

If your Christmas shopping list still contains a few stubborn names at this 11th hour, it is probably because these friends or family members are tough to choose for.

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They may either have everything or be a bit picky, leaving you, the well-intentioned giver, with the challenge of coming up with a creative gift they'll enjoy.

We all want to find that perfect gift, so here are a few ideas to jog your shopping inspiration. These gift ideas do not include the latest electronic gadget or popular child's toy. Those can, of course, be the perfect gifts, albeit easy to come up with and find.

If you're in need of something a little out-of-the-ordinary and perhaps with more meaning, read on.

Giving green is more than wrapping a gift in the funny pages. An eco-friendly gift can be several things, as "eco" implies low on the production-consumption ladder and/or sustainable to make and enjoy.

By shopping at locally-owned stores and purchasing locally-made gifts, you share the double-whammy of keeping profits in Shelby County as well as cutting down on the distance an item travels from raw materials to under the tree.

It also (selfishly) doesn't hurt that when it comes to last-minute shopping, staying out of the malls or bigger city traffic can save your sanity. So the blocks in downtown Shelbyville offer several boutiques, antique stores and specialty shops – all packed with gifts such as books and bikes, candies and jewelry. And there are gifts to fit every budget.

Shops such s Through the Looking Glass offer items made by local artists. There are snowman earrings and elaborate bib necklaces made by Annie Gardner. Laura Noe's tiny-painted canvases are truly one-of-a-kind. And Kim Venegas has a plethora of cozy animal hats for kids.

Yummy smelling soaps made in Louisville are a pretty-local option. They are all made from 100 percent essential oil and olive oil in delightful scents like triple lavender.

The many antique stores offer quirky and well-made pieces of furniture that may only need a little TLC. To give an rocking chair or buffet a second-life is the ultimate form of recycling, and hardly tacky re-gifting.

Still stuck? Sometimes the best thing to give isn't a thing at all.

A gift certificate to McKinley's or Maggie's Bistro may be just the thing for someone on-the-go who finds it hard to cook at home. If they have small children, throw in an IOU for babysitting to make the night out really special.

And on the subject of IOU's – let's call them coupons – consider your talents or abilities. A coupon for 30 hours of yard work may be just what your grandparents need.

Visit with them after the lawn-mowing and weed-raking, and they'll really have what they want, too.

If you're handy with car maintenance or computer graphics, consider how your help could be a welcome present.

Another thoughtful gift for the person who has everything (and probably told you they want nothing) is a charitable donation in their name. There is a charity for every need, and one of those likely is dear to your loved one's heart.

You can give to the animal shelter, hungry children or domestic-violence survivors. All of these causes have local chapters.

Or you could give to a broader group, such as a cancer foundation or Heifer International. With Heifer International, your donation buys a farm animal such as a sheep or cow for a family in poverty around the world.

For $30, you can give a family honeybees to supplement their income with profits from the honey and beeswax.

A donation in one's name along with a pint of local honey (available at Metzger's Country Store) could be a sweet gift indeed.

Happy shopping!