Holiday shopping can become a nightmare when you haven’t a clue what to buy. It isn’t always easy to find the perfect gift in the maze of mall merchandise.

But take heart, weary shoppers. Instead of battling traffic, crowds and parking lots for a gift that may end up in the closet, consider these off-beat gift suggestions.

You don’t even have to leave our neighborhood to shop this list.

A Year’s Worth of Pleasure

Stumped by what to give the person who has everything? Your friends may be flushed with material goods, but perhaps they could use some intangibles. Give a membership to the Dallas Museum of Art, the Arboretum, The Science Place, the Dallas Nature Center or any other spot that offers yearly memberships. You can charge your gift over the phone, and a gift card will be sent to the lucky recipient.

Canine T’s

Give a friend a T-shirt emblazoned with a favorite breed of dog. Selections run the gamut from Boston Terriers to German Shepherds. Some sizes and styles must be special-ordered. T-shirts are available through the Lakewood Craft Mall, 1904 Abrams Parkway. Call 823-5799 for information.

Last-Minute Gifts

When it’s after-hours and you need to buy a gift quickly, you still have options. Here are some hints.

Hit the Simon David on Abrams at Park Lane. This grocery store’s upstairs gift department stocks everything from gourmet treats to trendy blenders. The store is open until midnight, seven days a week.

Another grocery store that stocks a wide range of gift items is Whole Foods (7205 Skillman at Kingsley and 2218 Greenville).

Neighborhood coffee houses keep late hours and usually stock gift-worthy items beyond fresh roasted beans. An impressive gift arrangement might include a bag of whole beans, a bottle of flavored syrup and a designer mug.

If you’re too busy to bake, but want to give a batch of cookies, buy an assortment of cookies at your neighborhood supermarket’s bakery and arrange them in a tin, basket or plate. You’ll be surprised at the variety of pretty holiday cookies that these in-store bakeries turn out.

If you’re feeling extravagant, buy the cookies at Casa Linda Bakery or any other local bakery. Even if you didn’t bake the batch, your friends will be glad you remembered them so sweetly.

You can even shop while you dine out. Ask if you can purchase a gift certificate at your favorite restaurant. The management will undoubtedly grant your wish.

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