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How to Shop for Gifts on Christmas Eve

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Even the most organized among us have probably realized we've forgotten to buy a Christmas present or two. On Christmas Eve.

There are still a surprising number of options available that don't require wasting hours at the local mall wondering what to buy -- though, of course, that option still exists.

Let's say your visions of sleigh-bells evaporate into disappointment when and if Santa fails to slide down the chimney with appropriate presents. You can still shop at home into the wee hours of Christmas morning.

Here is our guide to shopping for gifts on Christmas Eve.

Shop online

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By Christmas Eve, most online retailers don't dare promise delivery by Christmas. Then there's Amazon (AMZN). This year, the company extended shipping deadlines to Christmas Eve for certain parts of the country. Order on Dec. 24 and you can get same-day delivery in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Indianapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, San Bernardino, Washington, D.C., and parts of New Jersey. This last-minute service will cost you a minimum of $3.99 per item.

Electronics and home appliance store J&R promises same-day delivery for orders made by 1 p.m. in the New York City metro area. EGGZ also offers same-day delivery in certain cities on Christmas Eve if your order is verified by 9 a.m.

If you don't mind battling traffic at the local shopping centers, several stores let you order gifts online for pickup in the store. These include:

  • BestBuy (BBY): Order online before 4 p.m. local time and pick it up in the store
  • Home Depot (HD): Order by noon to pick up in local store by 5 p.m.
  • Kmart (SHLD): Order by 3 p.m. to pick up in local store by 10 p.m.
  • Sears (SHLD): Order by 3 p.m. to pick up in local store by 6 p.m
  • Toys R Us: Order by 4 p.m. to pick up in local store

Give an app

Put some thought into your gift by perusing iTunes or Google Play store for the perfect app for a recipient. And then give it to that person digitally. Here's how:

  • iPhone/iPad apps: Go to the main page of the Apple (AAPL) App Store and scroll to the bottom. Look for "Send Gift," which will let you write a 200-character note and add the exact amount of the app. It then emails the recipient. You can even set it to be sent on a specific date. This also works for the iTunes Store, so you can similarly give a movie, song or other item.
  • Android Apps: Google (GOOG) has yet to step up and offer the ability to gift an app instantly. Right now, you need to think ahead and order a physical Google Play gift card to mail to a recipient. But you're reading this story for a reason. Your options for instant gift cards are to go through Amazon, where you can instantly give an Amazon Appstore gift via email or Facebook (FB), or print it from your computer.

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