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Bill's Best last minute gift

The hour grows late for last-minute Christmas shopping.

It used to be I really enjoyed getting out into the crowd during those last couple of days, if only to savor the communal panic.

Usually, I’m finished with what passes with my budget for Christmas shopping by around the second week of December. This isn’t bragging. It’s hard to get worked up about holiday shopping when you’re not buying much, but I appreciate the energy and the intention.

This time of year, people are out gathering tokens of affection. Holiday consumerism can come off as ugly and shallow, but the giving and receiving of gifts is a love language, I hear. Some people really need a big diamond ring or a high-dollar electronic gadget to feel truly loved and appreciated.

If that’s who you’re buying for, I can do almost nothing to help you.

But if you just need a solid, last-minute gift idea, here’s my best suggestion: tickets to a show.

Even if someone is the type who likes lots of loot at Christmas, most still typically end up with a pile of well-meaning things they never use.

That guitar your kid wanted is great until he decides to take up the banjo (good luck with that). Jewelry you buy your daughter will probably end up tangled in the bottom of a box. And that treadmill somebody swore they needed to get into shape?

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Just go ahead and start hanging towels on it now.

But tickets to a concert, a play or even a movie are gift certificates to real experiences and happy memories, something someone can look forward to and plan for. Hopefully it’s something they’ll talk about after it’s all over.

Buy a pair a tickets and let them choose who they get to take. Maybe that’s going to be you. If it is, go along, smile and watch them enjoy the performance, even if you’d rather stick your head underwater.

Tickets don’t have to be expensive. Sure, if you’re looking to take them to see a top-shelf country music star, that’s going to set you back (thanks Ticketmaster!), but there are other shows in more intimate settings that aren’t expensive — or at least aren’t as expensive.

Check out the Clay Center’s offerings, maybe the Marshall Artist Series in Huntington or Mountain Stage wherever they’re doing a show. If you’re buying for someone who like theater, check out the Alban Arts Center or Charleston Light Opera Guild.

Everybody has a website. Take a look. If that somehow doesn’t feel like enough, you can still spring for dinner before the show, a T-shirt after or both.

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas.

Bill Lynch covers entertainment.

He can be reached at 304-348-5195

or lynch@hdmediallc.com. Follow

@lostHwys on Twitter and @billiscap on Instagram.

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