Only nine more shopping days left 'til Christmas, but don't panic as the deadline approaches. Here are 15 quickie, easy to find and slightly off-the-wall gifts that should take care of any leftovers on your list. UP, UP AND AWAY

Lift a friend's spirits - send 50 helium-filled balloons. You can have them delivered Christmas Eve or Christmas morning (they stop floating in about 12 hours). Available in assorted colors, or just red and green. Call Joe DelVecchio, the balloon man, 785-1290. $25. OUT, OUT, DEMNED SPOTS

For someone who's racing around frantically trying to get the house presentable for he holiday onslaught of visitors, how about a top-to-bottom house-cleaning? For $200 to 250, depending on the size of the place, Maid to Order, Inc. (585-3836) will clean everything in your friend's house, from walls, windows and carpets down to the glass in the picture frames. Sure it's expensive, but "We're talking about the stuff that builds up over two or three years," explains John Graves, the owner. "What we do is disassemble the room and put it back together." But you'd better call fast if you want to beat the Christmas hordes - they need at least a week's notice. "It's usually taken 'em three years to get in this position - a few days isn't gonna kill 'em," Graves says. OUT, OUT TO A PLAY

Treat two of your favorite people to an evening at the theater. "First Monday in October" opens Wednesday at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater for a 10-week run, and although following Christmas (their biggest week of the year, a spokesman says), a good supply of tickets is available for most other times. "Paul Robeson" continues through New Year's Eve at the National, and the box office says good seats are still available. OR PLAYING IT SAFE

If you like that idea but aren't sure of your friends' schedules, buy them a theater gift certificate. At the Kennedy Center, they're available in any amount from $5 to $50 (in $5 increments), are good for one year from the date of purchase and can be used at any theater at the Center. Buy them in person at the Opera House box office, by phone through Instant Charge (857-0900) or mail (Kennedy Center Gift Certificate, Washington, D.C. 20566). There's a 4 per cent handling charge. Gift certificates are also available for the National Theater, through the box office (NA8-3393) or Instant Charge. THE GROANING-BOARD PLOY

If you're really feeling magnanimous, you could follow the evening at the theater with dinner for two, on you. At Tiberio Ristorante, 1915 K St. NW, you can call up and give them your credit card number, or you can pay in cash - they'll then give you a gift certificate for your guests to present at the door. The price? Giulio Santillo of Tiberio cautions that a meal can cost anythings, especially when the wine starts to flow, but says that for $25 each your friends can get a full meal: a drink, an appetizer, a main dish, dessert, coffee and a glass of wine. "Be sure to stress that it's a glass of wine." THE GRINNING BARD

There are 23,500 lawyers registered with the D.C. Bar - so there's bound to be someone on your list who can use a plate that says "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" (Shakespeare, "Henry VI"). Other items at the Folger Shakespeare Library Museum Shop include a "Stir not until the signal" ("Julius Caesar") coffee mug and a mug labeled "Captain of our fairy band" ("A Midsummer Night Dream"). Plates $25, mugs $5, at 201 E. Capitol St. 546-4800. BIDDING FOR SANTA'S FAVORS

Looking for something exotic? You'll find everything from antique swords and African masks to a huge mounted marlin at C.G. Sloan & Co., where contemporary and antique goodies are auctioned off every Thursday. The items vary from week to week, but are bound to be a one-of-a-kind - yesterday's selection included "some sort of stuffed reindeer head" that sounds like the perfect Christmas decoration for over the mantel. Next auction is 9:30 a.m. Thursday at 715 13th St. NW. 628-1468. Check the Yellow Pages for other compaines sponsoring regular weekly auctions or estate sales. SOUND TO SUIT THEIR TASTES

Records are always good last-minute gifts, so here's some advice from our music critics. For rock'n'roll fans, Mark Kernis says Elvis Costello's "My Aim is Ture" (Columbia JC-35037) and Steely Dan's "Aja" (ABC Records' AB-1006) are tow of the best records of the year. And if you decide to give a classical record, Joseph McLellan advises that Haydn's "Orlando Paladino" (Philips 6707 029, four records) is gorgeous music that your opera-loving friends may not have added to their collections yet; although it's a couple of centuries old, it hasn't been recorded until this yerr. Chamber music devotees will like the works of Janacek played by the Melos Ensemble on Vanguard VCS 10123. A SUIT FOR ALL SOUND TASTES

In case you want Santa to deliver your presents personally, Ronna Costumers, 1139 18th St. NW, has a variety of Santa suits to rent, ranging from $25 (cotton flannel) to $150 (heavy red velvet with real fur), although the $55 (corduroy) and $75 (lighter velvet, no fur) models are the most popular. 296-3430. OTHER QUICKIES:

An outdoor thermometer with Fahrenheit and Centigrade scales, starting at about $7.

A trashy novel: Harold Robbins' "Dreams Die First," $9.95.

A real office-style pencil sharpener, electric or manual, starting at about $6.

Pecan brittle from Neiman Marcus - more au Courant than Godiva chocolates and twice as scrumptious. $4.25 a can.

Scissors. Everyone needs scissors. No one ever has enough. You can get dressmaker's shears, paper shears, desk shears, haircutting scissors, sewing scissors, nail scissors, children's scissors, baby scissors and lefthanded scissors. 59 cents and up.

A fancy Christmas tree ornament, the kind that becomes a family heirloom. Martin's in Georgetown or White Flint has a real crystal ball by Kosta Boda of Sweden for $6.95, and a Wallace silver bell for $15.95; the Smithsonian Museum Shop has a sterling bell for $29.75 and a sterling angel for $24.75.