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Nick of time 

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Yes, Virginia, there will be stores open on Dec. 25 to bail out those of us who dismiss gift-buying on Christmas Eve as simply jumping the gun. If you are, in fact, still waiting to shop, you'll be glad to know you don't have to resort to cruising the empty aisles of the neighborhood Walgreens in search of forlorn Whitman's samplers and picked-over rolls of wrapping paper.

Just for you, we've included plenty of ideas for last-minute gift shopping in the procrastinator's paradise awaiting you on the following pages.

You'll find nonprofits that, when you make a donation in your giftee's name, offer an array of premiums, from prints signed by Manitou Springs art icon Charles Rockey to a square-inch plot of land just right for that microscopic pioneer in each of us.

Combine that with wearable art, delectable desserts and unique gift certificates, and there'll be no need for you to skip town on the 25th. Although Southern California weather is pretty nice this time of year ...

Bill Forman

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