Are you still looking for a few awesome last-minute gift ideas for Christmas? We know you’re out there, and we’re here to help. So if you’re like us, and you’re still finishing up your Christmas shopping, do not panic. Heck, do not panic if you’re just getting started.
Well, okay, you might want to hustle a bit. But panic? Nope, not yet.
Check out lots of our favorite last-minute holiday gift ideas in every price range, all of which you can still purchase or make yourself before Christmas morning for pretty much anyone still on your list.
And hey, silver lining: what we love about last-minute gifts is that they can really inspire you to think a little bit outside the box and get creative. Granted, you might have to run to the store (unless you want to pay the crazy super-express shipping fees, ouch), but if you’re going out of the house before Friday for a few other things anyway, just add a little something or two to your cart and boom, you’re done!
Last-minute gift ideas: Books. Always books.
As much as we love online shopping, we really really like supporting our local bookstores, not just because you can walk right out with a book (or uh, twelve) in your hands, often wrapped, but you can often get some of the best, personalized recommendations from shopkeepers who know their stuff.
For ideas, you can always check the book awards lists, like the National Book Awards, for example, the Newbery and Caldecott winners for kids, or we’re digging NPR’s Book Concierge, which list’s their 2015 staff favorites in all different categories.
If you need a little extra help, you can enlist the assistance of a service like Gift Lit, which is a well-curated monthly book subscription that keeps on giving, with a lot of customization options.
To make it more personal, just grab one of your own favorite titles from this year and pop a bookmark inside that speaks to your recipient, whether homemade or purchased. It’s a thoughtful touch.
Last-minute gift ideas: Food gifts, bought or homemade
Hot Chocolate Mixes | Gringalicious
Food is always a welcome treat, and if you’re already stopping by your local gourmet grocery for parties and family gatherings, adding a few additional items to your basket or cart won’t take any extra effort. We’re big fans of locally-made chocolates and baked goods, or creating a special coffee blend for the caffeine addict. Got a drinker on your list? Grab a special bottle of wine or their favorite bourbon — we’ve even got tips for 7 creative, easy ways to wrap a wine bottle to make it more special.
You can also check your local kitchen shop or department stores for last-minute sales on something fun and festive, whether it’s a special serving tray, like the ones we featured in our holiday gift guide, a wooden spoon with a colorful handle, or a pretty set of appetizer serving bowls.
Of course, you can always make your own food gifts too, and we’ve featured tons of ideas for the best homemade holiday food gifts on Cool Mom Eats, as well as easy Christmas cookie recipes and chocolate bark recipes that won’t take forever to whip together. Flavored salts or hot chocolate mixes, like the one above, don’t even require any cooking.
The key to making this inexpensive gift look like like you slaved over it all month is the packaging, so focus on the embellishments, whether it’s a special pine cone gift tag or a printable food label, those little details go a long way.
If you just want to order a last-minute Christmas gift from your laptop without paying whopping shipping charges, we have you covered there too! Try one of these 10 food subscription boxes, we love which will give the recipient a notification right away, and then something to look forward to in the coming weeks.
Last-minute gift ideas: Cool tech, made more personal
Whether you’re looking for great stocking stuffers, like pretty iPhone cases and earbuds, or big gifts that will make someone very, very happy (Hello, iPad Pro), tech accessories and gifts are fantastic last-minute options because you can find tons of ideas, including lots of our own recommendations over on Cool Mom Tech at local stores like Target and Best Buy. Yes, this means you will have to brave the stores. But you know, there are only a few days left here.
We’ve got a ton of cool last-minute holiday tech gift ideas, from digital subscriptions (like Texture, shown above) to DIY photo gifts, and even a cool e-gift card service that lets you incorporate your own family photos on the card!
When it comes to gifting tech, it can be the personal touches that make it extra special. Add a case and a swanky charger to the box with that new phone. Or include a Spotify subscription and a few cool playlists (or podcast recommendations, ahem) with a pair of headphones. Even though you might be getting them something they already wanted and were hoping for, we love the idea of going above and beyond to make it even more memorable.
Last-minute gift ideas: Museum, zoo, and other memberships
An annual membership to a local museum, zoo, local amusement park, or even indoor play space is one gift we’d love to receive, especially since you’re giving the gift of time together. You might need to do a little research to find out what the kids enjoy, what’s within a reasonable driving distance (or train, for the city folks), and perhaps, what families with kids of similar ages are currently enjoying.
Instead of just handing an envelope with a family membership card inside, to make it more personal you can pick up a little gift for each person that represents the destination. Like a small stuffed animal for kids lucky enough to be headed to the zoo, or a magnifying glass for a science museum, and have everyone guess their gift. You don’t even need to spend a lot.
Extra bonus: Many of these institutions are non-profit, so you’re actually giving yourself the gift of an end-of-year tax deduction too.
Last-minute gift ideas: Gift subscription boxes
These days, there are no shortage of gift subscription boxes for anyone with any sort of interest at all. From STEM loving kids to coffee lovers, to super geeks, pretty much every single person in between, there’s something for everyone. Granted, you won’t necessarily be able to get the box in their hands on Christmas morning, but this is where the fun part comes in.
Figure out a fun way to present the subscription to them, whether it’s a card inside a special coffee mug, or a message wrapped up in Minecraft shirt. Just tap into your creative side so they have a little something to open on Christmas. Then, they’ll enjoy the present for the next couple of months — or if you’re feeling super generous, all year long.
Last minute gift ideas: DIY gifts or crafts from the kids
We love the idea of handmade and DIY gifts from the kids for anyone on the list — teachers, caregivers, grandparents, you name it. Plus, it’s a great way to keep the kids busy during the last few days before Christmas. We’ve shared tons of awesome DIY tutorials this year, like handmade ornaments and easy printable gifts, all of which kids can make on their own, or depending on their age and skill level, with a little bit of help from an adult.
Or hey, we have plenty of cool handmade holiday gift ideas that adults can make too. Get out the Sharpies!
Last-minute gift ideas: Printable artwork
Free printable Shoot for the Moon print from Caravan Shoppe
Hooray for Etsy artists who are kind enough to share their amazing talent more affordably, in the form of printable downloads that you can print on your own computer. We’ve found everything from sweet sayings for teachers to book-inspired art for kids to inspirational quote art for your BFF all of which just require a printer, some ink, and paper. We’ve even found a few free options!
You can print them small and make them into memorable cards; or find a gorgeous frame online or at a local shop. Considering you’ve only got a couple of days, we suggest checking out all the fabulous frame options at places like Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, IKEA, Target, or even your local mom-and-pop hardware store. They’re all super affordable, too.
Last-minute gift ideas: Photos + Videos
Considering how infrequently most of us print photos these days (are you a photo and video texter like we are?), a really simple, sweet gift can simply be printing out a few of your favorite photos and popping them into a card or frame. You can also turn those photos and short video clips into a gift using free services like Animoto, which happens to be super easy to use as well. Maybe even make a year in review from all your favorite smartphone pics?
This is a great idea for someone long distance since it is digital. Send via email, or you can share it right on their Facebook page and surprise them on Christmas morning.
Last-minute gift ideas: Beauty products + Pampering
Olivine Atelier boxed gift set at Anthropologie on sale just $20.80 | rstyle affiliate
You’ll find no shortage of really cool gift packs all packaged and ready to go at places like Sephora or Ulta, as well as places like Anthropologie (like the set above) or even your local high end chemist. They range from affordable to outrageous, of course, but even just a fantastic hand lotion or shaving product for a special guy in your life works can be a perfect gift.
It doesn’t take a lot of time to put together your own little gift packs either, and actually, it can be fun making them personal. Maybe put together your own Tired Eyes Set with an eye mask, cream, and some aromatherapy oils; or an Extra Kisses Pack that includes special lip balm, lip exfoliator, and a fabulous lip color.
Heck, we have fun just naming them, let alone finding a few little products and a pouch or basket to put them in!
Last-minute gift ideas: A DIY custom gift basket
DIY coffee lovers kit via Ruffled Blog including free printables
One of Kristen’s favorite last minute gift ideas are personalized gift baskets based on a theme. Over the years, she’s put together myriad ideas for special people in her life, including Movie Night, Get Pampered, and even Learn to Make Sushi. You’ll want to create something based on what the person enjoys (so no sushi-making kit for your friend with the seafood allergy) or in some cases, create an idea based on what you might want to enjoy doing together — a chocolate and wine pairing taster perhaps? Then, just pull together items that go along with that theme.
For Movie Night you could give someone a Hulu subscription, a soft throw to cuddle under, cozy socks, and popcorn and movie candy boxes, all tucked into a nice bin or basket. Your Get Pampered box might include everything they need to enjoy a pedicure; like a gift card to a local spa, an In Style magazine (best pedicure read!), a pair of flip flops, and a couple of trendy nail colors.
Yes, these can take a little bit of time, but they’re really, truly fun to put together.
Last-minute gift ideas: Gift cards made more personal
Free printable iTunes gift card holder from Paging Supermom
We really do love giving and getting gift cards, and these days, there are so many creative ways to package them that they don’t feel at all like a last-minute or impersonal gift. We’ve even put together super cool DIY and printable gift card holder ideas like the one above.
Or if it’s a tutor, coach or teacher you’re scrambling for, check out these ways to give your favorite teacher a gift card.
While it’s great to give a gift card to a person’s favorite big store, restaurant chain, or iTunes or Google Play, think about smaller businesses too that often offer their own gift cards. Maybe it’s their local coffee joint, favorite local Mexican restaurant, a spa or salon, an independent neighborhood toy store (yay, we loe them!) or even a favorite clothing boutique or jewelry shop.
And what’s great about gift cards is that you often don’t have to go to the actual store to grab them. Stores like CVS, Target, Duane Reade, even your local grocery store — in other words, places you might be hitting this week anyway — all carry lots and lots of gift cards. So while you’re picking up those large containers of Advil (ha) or more Christmas cookies and chocolates (what?), you can stock up on gift cards without having to make an extra trip.
But if you don’t want to leave your house, hey, you don’t have to. We featured three apps for purchasing gift cards that make it super easy to buy and email them for printing, or send the actual card later for a nice surprise in their real, old-fashioned mailbox.
Last-minute gift ideas: A thoughtful charitable donation
This is the one gift for us that may be last minute, but never given without a ton of thought or love.
For the folks who already have a ton of stuff, or just have huge hearts, give a charitable donation in their name to one of their own favorite causes. If you’re stuck for ideas, we featured our own staff’s favorite charities every year, though we’re personally partial to charities that support mothers and families, like Postpartum Progress and Baby Buggy. But simply thinking about the interests of your recipient will probably yield lots of wonderful, worthy options.
This works for kids too, by the way. In our Kawaii gift idea roundup we suggested that for kids who are narwhal crazy, you can actually “adopt” a real one from WWF and get a little plush narwhal as a show of thanks. Or donate to Donors Choose in a child’s honor and specifically look for a kind of project that supports the projects your own kids love in school, whether it’s supporting science, the arts, or coding. They’ll be thrilled when they get a real live thank you note from the classroom teacher and the kids!
Besides the gift itself, we love that you’re giving an invaluable lesson in giving back. And maybe, a child in your life will be inclined to pay it forward themselves when the next gift-giving opportunity arises.
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