6 Perfectly Thoughtful Last-Minute Gift Ideas

6 Perfectly Thoughtful Last-Minute Gift Ideas

It’s down to the wire! If you still have people to shop for, we’ve got easy ideas.


By Lorraine Allen

You don’t need to buy expensive, perfectly wrapped holiday gifts for everyone on your list. You can save yourself time, money, and stress with some easy, out-of-the-box gift ideas. In fact, you don’t even need wrapping paper. Make the world a little cleaner and greener, and save some extra bucks and time too, by using kids’ artwork, plain white or colored paper, or magazine or newspaper pages to package your presents. You can also use clean glass jars or shoe boxes, too. The more fun you have coming up with these presents, putting them together, and personalizing them for your loved ones, the more awesome they’ll be!

Coupons: Here’s the quickest gift ever. My parents have pretty much exclusively given us coupons as gifts, and they are the best gifts ever. They can be for small things, like a new soccer ball, watch, or art supplies, or bigger things like tickets to a show or movie with a friend. But the sky’s the limit – they can even cover a whole adventure, like a weekend of camping, a pony ride or skating lesson, or a special trip to the toy store to redeem a gift card, for instance. Write the promise on a notecard (or print out one of our coupon ideas) and wrap it with a bow, or hide it inside lots of tissue paper inside a big box, to make it extra exciting for little ones.

Treats: There are two ways to do this. The fastest is to buy a person’s favorite cookies or treats, discard the outside packaging or box, and wrap them up all fancy in cellophane and tissue paper. Add a big bow, and you’re all set! If you want to get more personal, you can make a jar of their favorite cookie or cake mix (dry ingredients only), and add a note with the recipe instructions and how much and what type of wet ingredients they need to add like water, oil, or eggs. Tie a spatula or measuring spoons to the bow for added effect. Easy!

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Money: Want to get something specific but don’t have time to get it, or aren’t sure where to buy it? This is when a check or cash is the way to go. Even rolled change works! Print out or cut out an image of what the money is for, wrap it up or stuff it in a nice envelope, and spread that joy!

Roll the dice: Here’s an idea I recently came up with for an ultimate slacker gift that is great for kids or adults. Give them a pair of dice to roll (I’m sure you have an extra set somewhere, in an old game box,) and write a note promising something nice like back rubs, breakfast in bed, or favorite dinners. They get to roll the dice (the resulting number being how many times you’ll provide the gift) and you’ll deliver down the road. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, and it’s extra personal too. (If you don’t want the chance of having to do something 12 times, have them roll a single die instead of two dice.)

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Photos: Order prints online for convenient pickup at a local pharmacy, place them in cheap but pretty frames, and wrap them up. Or order customized photo gifts (mugs, blankets, and more) to be delivered directly to the recipient. Photos brighten any room, bring joy, and bring back happy memories anytime they are looked at. This is the cheap, easy gift that keeps giving pretty much forever. What could be better?

Calendars: Use kids' artwork or photos, or type favorite quotes in a pretty font and print out. Print out a 2016 calendar using a free online template, tape the images on month cover pages, and you’re done. If you want to personalize the gift further, add important dates on the calendar for whomever will receive it, like birthdays of note and vacations or trips, or SURPRISE them with something like a concert event on an upcoming day that you’ll give as an added gift. They’ll be extra thrilled when they see it!

What are your favorite last-minute gifts to give?


Lorraine Allen is a writer and mom to one spunky first grader and one squirrel-obsessed dog. You can follow their delicious, allergy-friendly cooking adventures at @FeedingLina.

Image ©iStock.com/Jasmina81


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