Donuts to the Rescue! How Dunkin, Krispy Kreme & Mandarin Can End Your Last-Minute Holiday Madness

Ahhhh, the holidays. A most wonderful time of the year. And let's be honest, a most stressful one, too. Bake. Shop. Eat.

It can be exhausting. You know how it goes. It gets down to the last minute and you can't stop yawning and trying to figure out how in the world you're going to get everything done.

Fear not! Donuts are here to save the (holi)day! That's right. Those sweet, round gems, and the shops they're sold in, are the superheroes of the season.

How? Here's our do-not donut guide for a de-stressed and happier holiday:

Do Not Bake

Think you're going to have to stay up all night to get those sugar cookies cut, baked and decorated? Fuhgetaboutit! Head over to Krispy Kreme instead, where you'll find at least four tasty holiday donuts, including a perky little snowman, a chocolate-frosted football and a super delish cream cheesy red velvet cake, already decorated for you.

If your wallet is feeling a little empty, no worries, Krispy Kreme's got your back. For $12.99, you can get two dozen donuts, one assorted and one glazed, enough to feed a gathering of more than 20 people. Or two to six hardcore donut addicts. (We should know. Burrrrp.)

Bottom line: Your guests will love 'em. Trust us on that.

Do Not Shop

Say good-bye to mall marathoning and scratch those hard-to-buy-for names off your gift list while your picking up your sweet eats.

For starters, donut shops offer one of the most convenient presents of all: gift cards. They're fast, cheap, don't require wrapping and always fit.

Translation: Gift cards are perfect for those people on your list who you haven't got a clue what to buy for. And they're also just right for even the pickiest of people. Simply give them a gift card and let them buy their own damn present. Bah humbug!

To raise the cool factor just a little, Dunkin offers a personalized gift card, customizable with your own photo. This is not only a great gift for the receiver, but also allows you, the giver, to show off your new kid, sig other, Lamborghini or whatevs. So much better than a newsletter, yeah?

Or if you're really in a hurry, pick up the cheery readymades available at the cash register.

While you're at the Double D, be sure to check out the many shelves of potential gifts conveniently displayed in-your-face style. The DD signature coffee mug, for example, is perfect for the coffee lover in your life, and costs less than five bucks. Pair it with a bag of DD coffee, and you're still under $15.

Speaking of coffee, while the Double D offers only one -- count 'em, one! -- red-iced and sparsely sprinkled holiday donut, they shine with their holiday roasts of vanilla nut, pumpkin spice and mocha mint. And for anyone who hearts their Keurig, Dunkin now offers a whole selection of K-cup coffees.

Need more? Try picking up some of DD's travel cups, insulated or not. They're just the ticket for sipping away the miles. And for crossing more names off your gift list.

Like its competitor, Krispy Kreme also offers gift cards and, theoretically, similarly nifty gifts, as well as special holiday promotional gift tags good for freebies, like a complimentary donut. But even though they're advertised on KK's website, don't go looking for them at the North Miami Beach location.

Here, they only sell gift cards and we nearly had to break into investigative reporting mode to find out this bit of news. The cashier had to track down a manager, who had to check if they sold them. The final consensus five or so minutes later was, yes, to their surprise, they do indeed sell gift cards that can be purchased for as little as $5.

If you have a little more time and money, and you're looking to impress, bypass the Double K's and D's, and head straight to the Mandarin Gourmet Donut Shoppe.

Besides having the classiest donuts in Miami (mascarpone cheese, anyone?), they offer equally classy gift baskets starting at $24.99. In addition to two dozen small- and regular-sized donuts, these are packing Brie cheese, crackers and-- in an obvious play on both words and food-- mandarin oranges. Nice touch, Mandarin.

Do Not Eat

We kid, we kid. Of course, you should eat. What would the holidays be without consuming an extra few billion calories?

So, there you have it. Your holiday baking, shopping and eating. Done, done and done. All that's left is the most wonderful time of the year. Enjoy.

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Joni Williams