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Ask An Expert: Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

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If you're like many of us, your shopping is barely crested. OK, admit it -- you haven't even started yet. Never fear, though, as these next tips will make you a Christmas hero -- and nobody needs to know you pulled them off the Internet. We swear we won't tell a soul, and let you take all of the crafty credit!

Kristi Lang
Kristi's Custom Creations

Kristi Lang, purveyor of fine, sparkly goods, and the mastermind arts-and-crafts queen behind Kristi's Custom Creations sat down with CBS Local to share her five best tips for the holiday procrastinator. These darling DIY gifts fit the last-minute bill beautifully -- they are easy to assemble, are insanely affordable and are crazy crowd pleasers for anyone on your list.

Hot Cocoa Ornaments 

What's better than hot cocoa? Hot cocoa packaged in a darling Christmas ornament! These little guys can be handed out as a package accessory, or in bunches as a single gift -- it's up to you! Start with a clean ornament and take the top off. Fill each ingredient into the ornament using a funnel: begin with any hot cocoa mix, festive sprinkles, mini chocolate chips and lastly mini mallow bits. Put top back on. You will need to deliver these standing upright or wrap the top with plastic wrap to keep contents inside.

Fort Kit

There are few things children love as much as making pillow forts and tents in their living room, so why not bring all of the supplies to them? This amazing idea is super simple. Assemble small suction cups (for sticking to windows), clothes line (to hang the sheet from), a package of clothes pins, flashlights, clamps and a flat sheet (and save the bag the sheets come in to present your gift). Add a cute little tag with assembly instructions (or pictorals for the littlest guys), and you have yourself an ingenious DIY gift.

A Tissue Box Full Of Money

How surprised will your gift recipient be when they open a sad-looking box of Kleenex and really discover a square full of cash? This idea is insanely easy: simply empty a square tissue box of its contents, take a stack ($15 or more works well in this scenario) of dollar bills, and tape them together length-wise (be sure that you have a very long, very thin strip of dollar bills running across your floor, rather than a thick stack. Think taping head-to-foot). You will then take the strip of bills, and fold them in an accordion form so they lay parallel with one another. At the very end of this, tape one or two tissues to the end so the recipient thinks that the contents are only tissues. Pop the end tissue out and voila -- a cute, sneaky idea to really surprise the gift recipient! For an added effect, you may also decorate the outside of the box for a more festive presentation.

Related: Best Places To Create Your Own Christmas Gifts In Pittsburgh

A Package Of Embellished Oreos

Okay, so a box of Oreos basically sounds like a horrible gift -- until you see the finished result. All you need is a pastry bag full of whipped frosting and a large assortment of pretty sprinkles. Think sanding sugar, round sprinkles, pearl sugar and dragee. All of these sprinkles can be found in basic confectionery stores. Simply remove the Oreo from its package, pipe your white icing around the outer perimeter of the cookie and roll the cookie in the desired sprinkle. The outer edge will take on a gorgeous decorative look and be a yummy treat to set out at any type of holiday fete.

Easy Christmas Centerpieces

This may be the most laughably easy and most inexpensive gift on our list. All you need is a dollar-store vase, water, Christmas tree clippings (preferably from a live fir), and a cup of cranberries. Simply fill the bottom of your clear vessel with the fresh tree clippings, fill 3/4 of the way with water and top with the loose cranberries. This centerpiece is magically gorgeous, and an added piece of holiday decor to beautifully round out the meal.

Related: Christmas Gardening Gifts

Nikki Tiani-Moroney is a full time mum of two boys, wife of a professional poker player/photographer/amateur pencil-sharpening competitor and writer from Pittsburgh, PA. When she isn't studiously neglecting her housework in favor of a good book, she's out simultaneously fighting crime and picking up sidewalk litter while savoring an occasional cigarette. Her work can be found at

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