12/23/2012 07:54 am ET Updated Feb 22, 2013

The 4 Best Last-Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

It's official. The holiday season is in full swing and while many are sipping hot chocolate basking by the glow of the fire and admiring Christmas trees filled with fantastic gifts underneath, others are scrambling to shop for that last relative, significant other or hard-to-buy-for friend.

If you are in the latter category (a place I have often found myself), I wanted to share some tips to help to make your gifts stylish, thoughtful and inspired -- even at the eleventh hour:

Think personal: Before you hit the store, spend just a few minutes thinking about the person. What do they like to do? What inspires them? Are they sporty? Stylish? A foodie? Getting thoughts on paper before you leave the house will save you from shopping burnout and maximize your time in the store.

Be resourceful: You don't have to spend a lot of money to get something amazing. Have a shopping list and a few go-to stores. Stores like T.J.Maxx and Marshalls are a great place to score deals on designer wares. Whether you're looking for chunky knits, a graphic print scarf or designer sunglasses, these stores can be a treasure trove.

Look to celebrities: Whether you are shopping for a hard-to-gift colleague or a close friend, celebrities can be a great resource to give really inspired, thoughtful gifts. Look to celebs with great style that have things in common with the person you're gifting for ideas. For example, for your quirky friend who marches to the beat of her own drum, take a tip from Zooey Deschanel and her affinity for bold hues and structured bags. For your foodie friend, look to Gwyneth Paltrow for the best recommendations in the kitchen. And for your hardworking co-worker who doubles as a full-time mom, I recommend looking at Jessica Alba's chic style.

Go with an everyday item: Think of something they wouldn't buy for themselves. It might be something small, like a luxury beauty product, something cashmere instead of wool, or even a designer handbag to hold it all if they're a working woman who is always on the go. The most important thing is to think about what fits their lifestyle and hobbies.

Everyone wants to give thoughtful gifts. Keep these tips in mind and you'll be sure to bring a smile to someone special this holiday season. Happy shopping!

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