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12 Last Minute Gift Ideas

This article was written by in Consumer, Family and Life. 5 comments.

This article is presented by Kelly Whalen, Consumerism Commentary staff writer.

With only one more day until Christmas you may still be in the market for a few last minute gifts. If you are like me, the idea of driving through traffic and elbowing through crowds to find gifts is not going to bring you any Christmas cheer. After going to my local Target two days ago I can tell you many of the shelves will be empty of what you are looking for anyway.

Here are twelve ideas for finishing up your shopping without leaving the comfort of home.

  • E-certificates: Most websites offer gift certificates emailed directly to your recipient. I like Amazon’s gift cards since they have cute illustrations, and really what doesn’t Amazon sell?
  • Subscription services: Send a subscription to for your father in law’s favorite magazine, or a Netflix subscription for the movie lover on your list.
  • Restaurant gift certificates: You can call your sister’s favorite restaurant and get them to send her a gift certificate, or go to for gift cards or a dinner of the month club.
  • Flowers or live plants: For the person that has everything, or loves plants get flowers or a live plant delivered today. I personally prefer live plants since they last longer.
  • Food: If you have plenty of baking supplies on hand you could make a special recipe. Pies, cookies, and even biscotti would make fantastic last minute gifts. You could make a favorite dish, or a recipe you are known for. Why not make your famous enchiladas in a freezer ready container?
  • Crafts: You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to make something crafty. A child’s handprint in a frame, a knitted scarf, or even a poem would all make lovely, personal gifts.
  • Photos: Give the gift of a photos to share the memories. Whether it’s gift of a picture of you and the recipient, or a favorite photo of your children. Even a slide show would make a fun gift. You can create a photo gallery on iPhoto or Picasa and share it with your family.
  • Make a donation: Make a donation to your giftee’s favorite cause, or one that is near and dear to your heart. Especially good for the person on your list who has everything they could ever need.
  • Give the gift of time: Whether it’s a gift to the parents on your list for some babysitting, or a gift to your mom for a weekend spent together, time is one of the most valuable and appreciated gifts.
  • Cash: It may be impersonal to some, but it is always appreciated. It might make a perfect gift for someone who is struggling financially (though this depends on circumstance)
  • Investments: Adding to a 529 plan for a child, giving the gift of stocks, or bonds are some great choices for helping a friend or family member build wealth.
  • Regift: It may be controversial, but why keep that cat statue your neighbor gave you when you know Great Aunt Edna would love to have it for cat collection.

Consider sending gifts late if you have to. It’s better to send something after the hubbub of Christmas is over anyhow. I always love that extra unexpected package. Do you have any last minute gifts on your list?

Happy Holidays!

Photo credit: / CC BY 2.0

Published or updated December 24, 2009.

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About the author

Kelly is a mostly stay-at-home mom to four kids. You can more of her articles about personal finance at The Centsible Life. Also, you can follow Kelly on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

Great ideas, I’ve been known to do one or two of these in my time. I especially like the photo one – we did that one this year. My brother had his first child, and we were at the hospital taking pictures of them and the baby with a nice digital slr on the day he was born. We took some of those pictures from his first hours, printed several of them and put them in a collage of “baby’s first hours”. I think it’s gonna go over well, it turned out really cute.

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avatar 2 Anonymous

We do the photo thing as often as we can. My wife is now officially a professional photography but has always been an enthusiast and you can find a nice frame, get some quality prints of your digitals and wrap it up real nice all for really cheap. You can get a nice frame and a digital photo printed for under $5.

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avatar 3 Anonymous

There are several good ideas here. I’d also point out that you can make a documented commitment to whomever you choose at Commitment Keeper as a thoughtful gift, for free.

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avatar 4 Anonymous

These are very good, i’ll be using some of them “after the last minute” (today 12/26/09)


John DeFlumeri Jr

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avatar 5 Anonymous

Great post! I myself think that finding the right gift can sometimes be difficult. What I think is that people tend to like unique gifts that are hard to find and not sold in stores. People like the gifts more this way since they cannot be replaced. I have been buying a few items from and giving it away to friends and family. They all love it. The stuff there are pretty cheap and unique and they deliver fast.

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