With only 11 shopping days, counting Sunday, left until Christmas, who can spare the time to visit a museum? But a trip to a peaceful museum shop to pick up last-minute gifts may be a perfect alternative to battling the hordes in shopping malls.

Museum shops are very civilized places, where you get terrific quality, unique merchandise and reasonable prices. They're storehouses for stocking-stuffers under $5, and for gifts for the hard-to-please. And most of the museum shops are open Sundays.

So you don't have to run out and buy another scarf for Aunt Martha or drive from mall to mall looking for that perfect little gift for your resident manager. And in the free time you'll have left over, you can wander the exhibits. CAPTION: Picture 1, For the birdlover on your gift list, this 1980 calendar should fill the bill, as it were, sending spirits soaring. It's $4 at the National Gallery of Art (Sixth and Constitution NW).; Picture 2, You can never be too rich or have too many glasses. Tall ships are etched on this set of eight 14-ounce glasses ($22.50). National Trust for Historic Preservation Shop (740 Jackson Place NW).; Picture 3, Slim enamel lighters, designed to fit into a pack of cigarettes, come in white, black and brick red and take butane fuel ($15). From the Corcoran Gallery Shop (17th and New York NW).; Picuture 4, If you're a fan of Dumbarton Oaks gardens, you may want to give this set of eight notecards which feature drawings by Evhy Constable of some urns and finials there ($2.25). Dumbarton Oaks (1703 32nd Street NW).; Picture 5, Notecards make good stocking-stuffers. These show a country winter scene by Grandma Moses (10 for $3.50). From the National Gallery East Shop (Fourth and Constitution NW).; Picture 6, Brass candlesticks gleam all year 'round. This pair ($30) made in Denmark is from the B'nai B'rith Gift Shop (1640 Rhode Island Avenue NW).; Picture 7, Tea cozies make great gifts for great-aunts. This one is handcrafted from quilted all-cotton fabric with an appliqued unicorn ($12). From the Folger Shakespeare Library Shop (201 East Capital Street).; Picture 8, A Norman Rockwell poster is a treasure; here's a set of the famous Four Freedom posters he did during World War II ($10 per set). From the National Archives Museum Shop (Eighth and Constitution NW).; Picture 9, A nice gift to take to a summerhouse is this stoneware sandpiper ($16). From the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History (Tenth and Constitution NW).; Picture 10, Give someone an advance look at the New Glass exhibition that opens at the Renwick in March 1980. This catalogue shows the fascinating collection of glass objects in full color ($25). Renwick Gallery (17th and Pennsylvania NW).; Picture 11, A beautiful gift at a reasonable price is this Pierre Bonnard monograph compiled and edited by Willem de Looper and Kevin Grogan ($5). From the Phillips Collection Shop (1600 21st Street NW).; Picture 12, This pewter swirl bowl can be filled with a tiny flower arrangement or with hazelnuts for a delicate centerpiece. A reproduction by Stieff, 6 1/4 inches in diameter ($38). National Portrait Gallery Gift Shop (Eighth and F NW).; Picture 13, Assembling this balsa-wood-and-paper Wright Flyer ($12) will keep someone busy long into Christmas night. Air and Space Museum Shop (Sixth and Independence SW).; Picture 14, Half the fun of the gift is in the wrapping. These fine-quality wrapping papers show designs from the Library of Congress: woodcuts and title page facsimiles and two designs using Polish paper cuttings ($1.25 for two sheets). Library of Congress Gift Shop (First and Independence SE).; Picture 15, Since honey is becoming a staple in many homes, here's a useful gift: a fat, hand-made honey pot with lid and its own server ($10). They sell Virginia thistle chunk honey to go with it ($3.50), at the Alexandria Bicentennial Museum Shop (201 South Washington Street, Alexandria).; Picture 16, Address yourself to the matter of a new address book. This large Smithsonian address book is bound in leatherette and full of floral images from their collections ($10). From the Hirshhorn Museum Shop (Independence and Eighth SW).; Picture 17, Beads are fun to give strung on a silk cord, or separately so the recipient can update an old necklace with them. These cinnabar beauties are from China, come in various sizes and start at $2, at the Textile Museum Shop (2320 S Street NW).; Picture 18, Children deserve elegance, too: here's a silver drinking cup based on one made in the 18th century ($31.75 in silver plate). Smithsonian's Museum of History and Technology (14th and Constitution NW).; Picture 19, A handwoven sash or belt of many colors can be worn with many different outfits ($8). From the Museum of African Art, Boutique Africa (318 A Street NE).; Picture 20, This oval Shaker sewing box is made of maple and pine, lined and padded inside, and contains a pincushion, a suede needle case and molded beeswax. A beautiful gift for one who sews ($40). From the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Museum Shop (900 Jefferson Drive SW).; Picture 21, If it should rain on Christmas day, this gift will keep the blues away. It's a creative art bag filled with all that's needed to make a whole crew of puppets ($11). From the National Collection of Fine Arts Gift Shop (Eighth and G NW).; Picture 22, Two boars on a thicket of leaves decorate this seven-inch letter opener in pewter with 24K gold electroplate ($16.50). Freer Gallery (12th Street at Jefferson Drive SW). Photos By Joel Richardson