There's still time

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From high-street stores to backstreet boutiques, Trish Lorenz pounds the
pavements in search of last-minute interiors inspiration

Christmas Day falls on a Tuesday this year, which is great news for the procrastinators among us: we have the entire weekend and most of Monday for last-minute shopping.

But those extra days do mean there's no excuse for a motorway-services-style offering under the tree. As a general rule, when buying gifts with an interiors focus choose either high-end, lust-after design or handcrafted practical items. A cashmere throw, stylish teapot and craftsman's toolbox are all useful and beautiful. Avoid trinkets and objects whose purpose is unclear, they'll just end up gathering dust in the loft.

Leaving things to the last minute has its bonuses. Some retailers have already started their January sales, so you can save some money without really trying. Chaplins (chaplins.co.uk), Cargo (cargohomeshop.com) and Habitat (habitat.co.uk) started sales this week, with savings of up to 50 per cent on items including cushions, vases and throws, all of which make good gifts for home lovers. If you're looking for presents for the gardener in the family, Garden Trading (gardentrading.co.uk) starts its sale on the 24th.

One downside of Christmas procrastination is that the vast majority of online shopping sites are no longer able to guarantee pre-Christmas delivery, meaning you're going to have to wear out some shoe leather searching for the right gift. So get those trainers on, elbows ready and bonne chance. We'll see you on the other side.

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