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Friday Five: 8 Extreme Last Minute Gift Ideas

ReadingpenguinFor the literary activist - Membership to English PEN. Terrific organisation, that supports free speech, works in translation and wonderfully diverse literary activities. You'll get invited to neat events and you get lots of goodies in the mail and you're part of a great cause. £50/year or a rather ridiculous £10 for those under 26.

For the vintage design lover - join the Penguin Collectors Society. Founded in 1973, the PCS obsesses over old Penguin books - the type, the logo, the quirky stories. They produce their own (absolutely gorgeous) publications, swap meets, lectures and exhibitions, and a regular journal that is packed with fun-facts and kitschy charm. A £30 membership fee, and worth it for the publications alone.

For the creative futurist - a subscription to Hack Circus. A quarterly magazine filled with... lateral insights into technology, with a focus on the surreal, improbably and inspiring. For non-fiction, it stretches the imagination in every possible way. Plus, regular events, a podcast and an email newsletter. Currently on sale: a year's subscription is only £16.

For the slightly pretentious film nut - an afternoon course on Wes Anderson. The Bishopsgate Institute has some fantastic courses, especially for budding writers, photographers and cultural junkies of all types. For those that want to learn to talk the talk (that talk being slightly off-beat monologues with forlorn indie music underneath), this three hour course on Wes Anderson is a great starting point. £19 to £25.

For the completely unpretentious film nut - a membership at the Prince Charles Cinema. Easily London's finest movie theatre, with a combination of new releases, second-run and vintage movies. Plus the occasional sing-a-long and John Carpenter marathon. Membership saves you a minimum of £2.50 on every ticket (and 10% at the bar, plus discounts at shops like Forbidden Planet and Gosh). And is a mere £10.

For the person who already has every book - buy someone else a few through Room to Read. One of our favourite charities, Room to Read is a global charity, helping provide the materials and instruction to combat illiteracy. Right now (until 31 December), donations are being matched by various partners, so there's not a better time to throw money their way.

For the jaded Londoner (or Jurassic Park fan) - help save the dinosaurs. The Crystal Palace Park dinosaurs require constant maintenance and protection, and the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs have adopted that as their mission. They're lovely, hardworking people - just what the dinos need.

For those that prefer cuddly animals that aren't already extinct - adopt an animal. Most zoos have this programme in place already: including London (£35), Chester (£55) and Edinburgh (£40), to name a few. They all come with photos and cuteness, and occasionally free tickets. For someplace slightly further abroad, the WWF has creatures great and... very great, and will email an online certificate on the same day. (And for more sedentary types - adopt a plant from £25.)

Good luck!