BOSTON (CBS) – The pressure is mounting. There always seems to be so much to do this week.

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And to make things worse the new neighbor down the street just showed up with homemade fudge for you and you have nothing for them. So you add them to your shopping list for the weekend.

Do not do that! If you run out to get them something now you will be caught up in exchanging gifts forever or until they move. A nice thank you note will do.

Many of you are in your cars driving to the malls or the local shopping center right now, doing the last minute stuff.

Think about picking up some gift cards. But be sure the gift card is one the recipient will use. According to Marketwatch.com, $1 billion in value on gift cards goes unredeemed annually.

Some of the restaurants are offering a $10 gift card for you if you buy a $50 gift card. Here again be sure you will use that $10 gift card for many of them have expiration dates of 90 days.

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Buy some plants or flowers, decorative containers and some bows and voila` you have your hostess gifts, kids’ piano teacher, and Sunday school teacher taken care of.

Head to one of the big discount stores that sells baskets. You can fill them with small gifts and make a big impression.

Do a theme for each basket. For someone who loves tea, consider a teapot and some mugs, a variety of teas, a jar of honey, a honey dipper and some imported shortbread cookies.

You can fill the baskets before you leave the store. Then when you get home all you have to do is remove the price tags, add that bow and some candy canes for color.

If you still have people on your list give them IOUs. Make up gift certificates for them. Promise your niece a trip to the mall after Christmas to pick out the clothes she wants.

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It is truly better to spend time with your family this week baking cookies than it is frantically cruising the mall. And probably cheaper, for you spend so much more when you are in a rush to get something.