For the Grinch in a pinch ...

We've done the hard part, so all you have to do is cough up a buck or so for that semi-perfect last-minute item.



The selection of sweet holiday swag two intrepid, but cheap, reporters scored at local bargain stores in Walla Walla and Milton-Freewater. Total cost of everything?: $11.25 (not counting sales tax.) Satisfaction in giving this stuff away?: Priceless. (Dec. 19, 2011)


Under the "always thinking ahead" gift department are these glow-in-the-dark goodies for the New Years Eve party. The lighted earrings, eyeglasses and pendant will make you stand out at any celebration while the glowing whistle helps you call for help later when you have had too much and are stumbling around helplessly in the parking lot searching for your designated driver. (Dec. 19, 2011)


A perfect pair. The Adjust-A-Button helps people deal with holiday gluttony while the Blacklight Notepad lets them write down diet tips that glow with inspiration. Or at least that's the idea you can pitch to whoever gets these things. (Dec. 19, 2011)


OK, at $1.25 the Dora the Explorer night light went a little over budget, but who can resist something like this? It's adorable. It even says that on the package. How can you argue with that? (Dec. 19, 2011)


Because nothing like a toe clipper with magnifier says: "It's Christmas, you're getting older and your eyes need all the help they can get." (Dec. 19, 2011)


It's green. It's macho. It's a "sport scent." And it's a buck. What more could you want for Mr. Macho Man? (Dec. 19, 2011)


The tag says "animal LED light with sound," but exactly what animal making what sound somebody had in mind is anyone's guess. The light in the nose, though, is really, really bright. (Dec. 19, 2011)


This ceramic box is actually sort of a best-buy bargain from the Dollar Plus store in Milton-Freewater. It's bright. It's shiny. It holds stuff. And it's only a buck. What more do you want? (Dec. 19, 2011)


Just the thing for a chintzy boss, frenemy or whoever. Two lumps of coal and a really holiday-theme sack to put them in. (Dec. 19, 2011)

Once again, as a component of being a full-service community newspaper, the Union-Bulletin has done a little last-minute Christmas shopping for all of you procrastinators.

With the big moment only days away, we understand that some of you could use a little help buying for all those people you really, really care about. Really care about enough to spend a whole buck (or $1.25) on their gift.

With that in mind, U-B reporters bravely ventured into The Land of the Dollar Stores in the last days before Christmas ¬?-- when tempers were flaring and Muzak was blaring and everyone sneered ... It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Not quite like Andy Williams sang it, we know.

For the rundown of what we found, turn to Page A3.

(1) Coal in a sock -- First of all, we've got your boss covered. It might seem cliche, but we found the perfect gift, rife with tradition. This little package contains a velvety and deeply rich, ruby-colored bag, embroidered in gold and festooned with a sassy, shiny cord. Snuggled in the clamshell package are two pieces of genuine, black-as-ebony coal.

And, bonus gift, we have your excuse lined up -- "Boss, I thought it was licorice! Seriously! Pretending to be coal, you know?"

(2) Bright, shiny ceramic box -- It's bright! It's shiny! It's a box! What more do you want? Honestly, this is actually a pretty nice item from the Milton-Freewater Dollar Plus store. Something you could give to somebody without cringing (too much anyway).

(3) Really big PRINCESS sticker -- Just the thing for your older sister, the one who thinks she's Mom's favorite. A pretty-as-a-rose, full-sized wall decal for your sibling to put in just the right place, where she can look at it every day.

Alternately, this is just the thing for the office diva. Just stick this right across the back of their chair or in some other suitable place around their cubicle. Not that we would suggest embarrassing a coworker. Heaven forbid.

(4) MACHO aftershave -- For that special guy, we picked up this very green-colored "sport scent." "MACHO" after shave is "specially formulated with a classic masculine twist," the manufacturer claims. Or, as one person said after taking a whiff, "It's like a pine tree gone bad."

(5) Dora the Explorer night light -- At $1.25, this was a little above our bottom line, but who's counting pennies when you can give somebody a celebrity superstar who will light up their nights? And it's adorable! (See, it even says so right there on the package!)

(6) ZOOM nail clipper with "2X SUPER MAGNIFICATION" -- Because nothing says "Christmas" like a gift that also says, "We think this item might be just right for you, grandpa, with your fading eyesight and age-thickened nails."

(7) Glow in the dark party favors -- Whoever gets these glowing goodies will be ready to "party hearty" on New Years Eve. The eyeglasses, earrings and pendant will mark you out as that "special" person during the festivities while the glowing whistle will help you call for help while stumbling around the parking lot trying to find your designated driver.

(8) Octopus LED flashlight thingamabob -- It's manic expression is sure to delight all as a blue, pulsating light shoots out its snout, a trick we were unaware octopuses could pull off. The little critter also emits some tortured squeal-laser sound. Octopuses don't sound like that, do they?

(9) Blacklight notepad -- Just the answer to all those cheery Post-It notes. Write your thoughts in hallucinatory ink on black paper. A perfect way to start the New Year!

(10) Adjust-A-Button kit -- We understand ... you give and give and never think about yourself during the holidays. But we did! That's why we present to you the "Adjust-A-Button" kit...For Men & Women!"

These little magic buttons "add or remove inches to make pants fit perfectly every time!" The package kindly outlines the process, in pictures, no less. "Pants don't fit? Insert the Adjust-A-Button. Lock in place, button up and you're set."

Just choose the appropriate colored button, poke it through your waistband to move the "button" closer to the button hole and continue to eat Christmas cookies allllllll day long. Add some eggnog, go ahead!

We found that for you. You're welcome.


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