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Be Prepared: Back Up Gifts for Everyone

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There is no greater horror than receiving an unexpected gift from someone who you didn't buy for. It's awkward; it's guilt inducing; and with our list of Back Up Gifts, it's unnecessary. Make this scenario a thing of the past by stocking up on a few of these stand-bys. Plus, if you never find a use for them, you can ring in the New Year with some goodies for yourself.

First, everyone can do with an extra hat, set of gloves, or scarf, especially when you buy them in fun colors that your recipient is unlikely to own. Try Old Navy's Performance Fleece line; each item is just $7.50, and if you buy two or more, the price drops to $5 each. These Cableknit Beanie Hats for $16.50 at the Gap are also a great option.

You don't need to be an avid reader to appreciate reading accessories; we all travel at one time or another, and what else can we do than catch up on some reading? We think your best option is this Serpent Lite Translucent Gray Flexible LED Book Light ($9.95, Barnes & Noble); it makes reading possible no matter the time of day. Or try this Leather Bookmark Weight for $9.98 at LillianVernon.com, which holds your book flat so you don't have to.

Every morning, most of America wakes up to a cup o' joe, so gourmet coffee is a fairly universally-appreciated gift. Amazon.com has a great selection of coffee, as well as tea, which is also a great option since some people prefer a drink that's gentler on the stomach. Out of the hundreds of options Amazon.com offers, however, we think this Godiva Chocolate: Chocolate Crème Coffee for $12.50 is the best; because who doesn't salivate at the mention of Godiva? We also love gifts that impress, and this Red Bloom Display Tea for $10 does the job nicely. Each "ball" of tea unfolds into a lovely flower as the tea re-hydrates.

When Macy's bought the Chicago mainstay, Marshall Fields, a few years ago, loyal customers demanded that the megastore keep the Frango chocolates in tact (search "Frango"). We can't argue with 75 years of success and cult adoration, so we're certain a box of Frango chocolates would make an amazing gift. Macy's has a huge selection, but we recommend the Frango Dark Mints for $17.

This holiday season don't get caught of guard by a surprise gift. Buy a few of our suggestions, keep them wrapped and on hand, and you're holiday will be free of awkward exchanges. And what's the worst that could happen from being well prepared? You might end up with some unused gifts, but considering the loot – chocolates, tea, coffee, and more – we're almost hoping we have leftovers.

-- Lindsay Sakraida

DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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