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Call us Rudolph

Panicked about last-minute holiday shopping? With our ideas so bright, let us Guide your sleigh tonight.

December 20, 2007|BY ENID PORTUGUEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Holiday shopping almost equals procrastination. People who have their shopping done a month in advance clearly have no lives and should be shunned. But there are procrastinators and then there are procrastinators. If you're reading this article, you probably fall into the latter. We make no judgments here, but we are talking five shopping days until Christmas, people. Thankfully, L.A. is filled with tons of resources for last-minute gifts, some of which won't require you to get out of your pajamas. And all of them can happen by the big day without too many hassles or crowds. Merry Christmas!

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Admittedly, everyone hopes for something personal when they receive a gift, but the upside of charity (besides the obvious benefit) is that you don't have to worry about size or future regifting. Best of all, donations can be done online, with the gifts e-mailed or delivered directly to the recipient. OxfamAmerica (www.ox famamericaunwrapped.com; $18-$10,000) allows you to send gifts from goats to school supplies to water irrigation systems to people in more than 26 countries. Animal lovers can adopt one or a family of furry friends in someone's name for less than $100 through the African Wildlife Foundation ( www.awf.org). Want to keep it local? The Los Angeles Zoo ( www.lazoo.org; $35-$1,000) offers an adoption program for all its animals -- a great gift for children. For the big spender with a bigger heart, become a Field Partner at Doctors Without Borders (www.doctorswithout borders.org) by donating monthly in someone's name. The independent international medical organization delivers emergency aid to victims of war, epidemics, natural disasters, or little or no healthcare.

Sweet Charity

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Members Only

Another gift that's a mouse click away: memberships to museums. The Museum of Contemporary Art memberships (moca.org; starts at $75) are coveted for their accompanying members-only opening parties and discounts at their rockin' gift shop. If your intended is artsy-craftsy or has a jones for cops, try a year's membership to the Craft and Folk Art Museum (www.ca fam.org; starts at $45) or the Los Angeles Police Museum (laphs.com; starts at $48); both include unlimited free admission, a newsletter subscription and gift store discounts. A Legoland membership (legoland.com; $89-$138) is the ultimate gift for kids and their parents; it comes with unlimited admission to the theme park, a year's subscription to LEGO magazine, and the pass is printable on your desktop.

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One-Stop Shops

Scattered throughout the city, these small, well-edited boutiques possess enough random items to cater to just about anybody. For novelty and kitsch, Wacko in Hollywood (soapplant.com) is the place: One-of-a-kind art, children's books, unusual T-shirts and pop-culture-inspired bobbleheads are just a sampling of the wide assortment of stuff for any budget. (Warning: The lines on Christmas Eve are long, so get there early.) For unique home accessories, both Zipper on W. Third Street (zippergifts.com) and Yolk in Silver Lake (yolk-la.com) have design-minded treasures, plus free gift-wrapping. For your quirkiest, trendiest mates and lovers, IGE on Beverly Blvd. in WeHo ([323] 939-2788, www .igedesign.com) is a one-stop bonanza with exquisite jewelry and offbeat home art for every price point, gift-wrapping included. For movie buffs, Jadis, a prop store in Santa Monica ([310] 396-3477), sells a large variety of sci-fi gear from films including "The X-Files" and "Ghostbusters" (the film is noted on an attached tag).

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Food for Thought

Short of fruitcake, everybody loves food, and gift baskets are especially suited to co-workers or people whose taste you're unfamiliar with. Mel & Rose (melandrose.com) offers same-day local delivery, pickup or overnight shipping for its extensive selection of wine and spirits baskets (starting at $45). Gelson's (gelsons.com) gift basket repertoire includes spa and skin care products along with fruit, snacks and chocolate (starts at $29.99; local delivery offered). If you prefer warm, fresh food, Blue Plate in Santa Monica ([310] 260-8877) can put together a basket filled with gourmet soups, sandwiches and salads for same-day pickup or delivery (starting at $50).

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Back to Basics

Not as glamorous as giving fine jewelry or the latest high-tech gadget, but practical services have their appeal. And you can easily pick them up while you run other errands. For the strapped commuter (is there any other kind?): a gas card ($5 and up) from Chevron or BP coupled with a Jiffy Lube gift card (jiffylube.com; $5-$300). For the stressed-out parent (is there any other kind?): certificates for haircuts and spa treatments. LeSpa at the Sofitel Hotel (sofitella.com; treatments start at $115) takes orders over the phone and will have the certificate wrapped and ready for curbside pickup. Sweet.

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D-I-Why Not?

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