2.) Keep your sack stacked.
Nothing can make you feel like more of a douche than getting a gift from someone and not having anything for them in return. So why not keep a few emergency gifts handy? Robyn Freedman Spizman, a gift-giving expert (wow, where do you go to school for that?) and author of Make It Memorable: An A-Z Guide to Making Any Event, Gift, or Occasion . . . Dazzling!, advises shoppers to keep a closet full of last-minute presents on hand. That way, if someone jabs you with an unexpected gift, you can counterpunch with a pre-wrapped uppercut. Even if your closet's already full with skis, that pile of clothes you meant to give to the Salvation Army in 1993, and that bag of leftover Cheetos from St. Patrick's Day, you can still make a little room. Spizman recommends having at least two all-purpose, all-person presents on hand to help you avoid that awkward, "Er — but I didn't get a thing for you" moment.
Game Plan: Buy a couple of books off the bestseller list — and if you slip a $5 gift card inside as a bookmark, you'll make an impersonal last-minute gift look, well, novel. Then you can always take a cue from Seinfeld and try re-gifting — just wrap up the bottle of Innuit wine your co-worker gave you and bring it to your neighbor's holiday cocktail party.
Bonus: Chained to your desk? Head to your favorite magazine's Web site. In three secs you can launch a one-year gift subscription.