An e-mail, red, white and blue … waves of change, was circulated recently and although the intent of the e-mail seemed to be to promote ‘buy American instead of Chinese’, many of the unique suggestions could fit Opelika.

For those last minute gifts, consider doing business with the hometown folks

If you should decide on a gift certificate from some shop that does not have the forms, simply have the storeowner write an I.O.U. on a Christmas card. Gifts do come in different shapes and sizes; it is not necessary that a gift fit into a shirt box and be tied with a ribbon.

Support your local businesses when you can and you may be surprised at what you find here. Opelika is blessed to have a wide assortment of shops from which you may find just that right gift.

Almost everybody gets his hair cut — so how about a gift certificate from the local hair salon or barber. Gift certificates from a beauty shop will be appreciated, provided you are very careful that the person would not think you thought she should go to a beauty shop. A gift certificate for a manicure or pedicure would be a safe approach.

A nice gift would be a certificate to have your car washed, waxed and/or completely detailed.

Consider a membership to a local gym. If you are into college athletics, several stores stock Auburn t- shirts as well as items from other colleges.

Nothing is better than a gift of food. Cup cakes, cakes and casseroles can be purchased from local shops or check a food wholesaler or meat shop for hams, turkeys and chesses. Opelika even has a store that just makes cookies so why not order a quantity from them and divide into individual gifts or enjoy for the holidays.

Our city has a number of very nice locally — and independently-owned gift shops where you can find lovely gifts. Check inside your home pharmacies as these pharmacies often carry an assortment of unique gifts.

Plan your holiday eating out in a locally owned restaurant. Purchase a home-cooked take out meal for someone or gift certificates from these restaurants.

Consider several small gift certificates from locals who offer breakfast. These could be a real treat for a busy parent, commuter, student or retiree.

There are a number of residential and commercial cleaning companies who will do a good job on your home or office — give them a try and help make the stressful holiday season more enjoyable.

An early Christmas gift, such as landscaping services for grass cutting and leaf raking, may be the most appreciated as people prepare their homes for the festivities of the season.