Caught in a last-minute holiday crunch? Here are some places that could help you out:
* Shoppers, Ltd. -- Services include gift shopping, wrapping and delivery; party and menu planning; wardrobe consultation. Same-day shopping service available for orders received by 10 a.m. (522-7076).
"We try to match the gift with the personality of both giver and receiver," says Dianne Harrison, 25, one of three owners of the new business."And we'll even return a gift that fails to please its recipient."
Rates: $35 an hour for gift shopping and party planning, one-hour minimum. Wardrobe planning, including consultation and measurement-taking: $25 an hour. If gifts run more than $2,000, charges are "on a percentage basis." (The firm once was commissioned by an Arab diplomat to purchase a $3,295 mink jacket.)
Orders accepted until 10 a.m. Dec. 24. Regular hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday. A recorder will take messages if necessary, including during non-business hours.
* Express Mail Next Day Service -- Available at your local post office. Package can be mailed by 5 p.m. one day and reach addressee by 3 p.m. the following day. A sample of cost: package up to 2 pounds mailed from here to Los Angeles: $9.35 for delivery to addressee and $5.85 for post-office-to-post-office service. Weekend and Christmas Day delivery at no extra charge.
* The Packaging Place -- For people who need help in packaging awkward or perhaps fragile gifts for out-of-town delivery, 12013 Nebel St., Rockville, (770-6010).
Gil Zellan, the firm's president, says it's still not too late to get packages to their destination by Christmas, but "next-day" or "second-day" air service can be expensive. An example of prices: 25-pound package that would take 5-6 days to reach San Francisco by ground, $10.79; next-day air service, $41; second-day air service, $30.
In addition to shipping charges, The Packaging Place charges $16 an hour for labor, with a minimum charge of $4 per package (gifts going to the same destination could be sent in one package), plus a nominal charge for boxes and outside wrapping materials.
Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, noon to 9 p.m. Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.
* Eastern Onion -- Singing telegrams, $35 to $175. Deliverers include a Singing Santa, Elf, Christmas Tree, Sexy Mrs. Santa, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Among the more expensive grams: "Santa Belly" (Santa Claus and a toy bag filled with a professional belly dancer), $95 (984-3200).
* Personal Pickets -- Will provide a 20-minute "picketeer" with sign (10 words or less of your choice), $40. Second picketeer, $25 more; third, $20 (424-0900).
Eastern Onion Grams and Personal Pickets available every day over the holidays except New Year's Day. Two to three days' advance booking preferred, although sometimes possible to book with 24-hour notice.
* H.H. Leonards Fine Arts -- Offering specials and discounts equal to shopping days remaining before Christmas, 2020 O St. NW. Today, for example, it's 5 percent off (and free fudge and brownies). Wednesday, 3 percent off each piece of art: 4 pieces of art, 12 percent discount. open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends.
Friday, Christmas Eve, is "procrastinators' day." From 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Christmas morning, the store will give 15 percent discounts; 1 to 3:30 a.m., 20 percent; 3:30 to 4 a.m., 30 percent. Also, "All Santas who arrive in costume receive an extra 10 percent discount."