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3 Last Minute Gift Ideas that Don’t Seem Last Minute

  December 22

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Three Last Minute Gift Ideas that Don't Seem Last MinuteI can’t believe that Christmas is just a few days away. We traveled for the first two weeks of December, so the month really seems to be flying by! I honestly can’t believe we’re at the end to another year.

Anyway, I know some of you are likely still struggling to find the perfect gift(s) for your friends, your family, or even your spouse.

Luckily, not all last minute gifts have to seem last minute. The worst thing you can do is buy a last minute gift that let’s the receiver know you hadn’t thought of them sooner. To avoid that, try giving one of these 3 last-minute gifts, and they’ll never be the wiser.

Dressed Up Gift Cards

Nothing says impersonal and last-minute like giving a gift card to close friends and family. While there is a time and a place where gift cards make good gifts – think people you don’t know as well or people who live far away – gift cards are not the best idea for close friends and family.

Even gift cards to restaurants, and popular chain stores seem less personal than they used to because these days you can buy gift cards to hundreds of different stores while doing your weekly grocery shopping trip.

However, gift cards can seem a lot more personal if you put in a little extra effort. Something simple like a hand-written note can make a gift-card seem much more personal and special. You can also take my friend Stefanie’s idea by including a gift card as only part of the gift. For example, you can create a themed gift by putting a gift card to a kitchen store inside of an oven mitt with a couple of kitchen utensils. With a little creativity, any gift card can be made more personal in a short amount of time.

Subscription Services

Buying a subscription to a friend or family member’s favorite magazine is a good idea for a last-minute gift, but an even better idea is subscribing someone on your list for something they’d really use or enjoy. This could mean subscribing a busy mom to a grocery delivery service for a set number of visits, subscribing a girlfriend to the wine-of-the-month club (Who doesn’t love wine?!), or subscribing a pet lover to a monthly delivery from somewhere like BarkBox.

The thing that makes a subscription seem thoughtful and totally not last-minute is how well you know the person you are shopping for. If you pick a subscription to something they will truly use and enjoy, it definitely won’t seem last minute, even if you wait until Christmas Eve to do so. My mom got me a subscription to Real Simple Magazine last year, and it was great because I never spend money on magazine’s at the grocery store so it was nice to have one gifted to me.

A New Twist on a Classic Game (Monopoly)

My husband’s family loves playing board games, and they are amazingly good at them. I get my butt whooped at Scrabble every time I visit my in laws in Louisiana. Most people have a set of the basic board games but you could also gift several versions of the same classic game. For example, owning Horse Lover’s Monopoly, 3D Monopoly, or even Zombieopoly won’t change the way the game is played, but buying an updated, themed version of this classic game is a great way to give a personalized last-minute gift that doesn’t seem so last-minute. Alternatively, you could try and find some other board or card game to give instead.

Ultimately, the art of last minute gifting isn’t hard to master. The key is to put in a little extra effort to make your last-minute gifts as personalized as possible so the receiver feels special when they open it.

Are you finished gift shopping? Have you ever used any of these last-minute gift ideas?

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20 responses to “3 Last Minute Gift Ideas that Don’t Seem Last Minute

    1. Awesome! I’m glad you are finished with your shopping. 🙂 Cash is a good gift too, but I’d probably have to dress is up a little bit to make it seem more thoughtful.

  1. Great ideas! Gift cards can be nice for older people – I even asked for some this year since I’m pretty particular about certain things. A lot of people think that gift cards are less personal, but I disagree. As someone who doesn’t like to spend money on things I want or might need throughout the year, I think it’s very thoughtful to receive a gift card and I appreciate not having to spend my own money when shopping 🙂

  2. These are definitely well thought out gifts and ones that you wouldn’t imagine are last minute gifts. I just purchased around 16 or so frames yesterday that I plan to put family pics and pics of the kids to give out on Christmas. I’m just going to tie a really pretty teal bow around them and I’ll be finished. Best part is that it didn’t cost me over $20:)

  3. I’ve actually always loved gift cards – especially really practical ones like to nearby grocery stores or gas stations. I’m going to have to buy those things anyway and now my money is freed up for what I want to spend it on. Then again… I did grow up to be a personal finance blogger, so I’m probably not the norm ;o) I do know my brother finds them incredibly tacky (so I get him one every year :oP).

  4. I definitely like having something under the tree that I can use right away, but I also don’t mind gift cards. I think they’re especially good if they’re for something that will make people indulge themselves. Like the way I ask for GCs to Sephora because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to justify my overpriced hair products.

    1. Good point! When I give gifts cards, I do try to give ones for things people wouldn’t normally treat themselves to. Spending your Christmas gift card on groceries isn’t very exciting.

  5. I love to gift classic games. Saw an upgrade monopoly game board where the game board is set on a wooden platform and the wooden platform has drawers for each player to hold their money. Classic games are thoughtful without much effort!

  6. I agree! There are some really cute ways to wrap gift cards to show that you put both thought and effort into the gift. I also love board games! They make really great gifts, and then everyone can sit down to enjoy it together that same day.

  7. I’m another weird one who likes gift cards. Getting a gift card to the grocery store is awesome because it means I can get free groceries for a month and put the money budgeted for that elsewhere! It’s a bit of a tradition in my family to get my grandma a gift card to the hair salon since she goes every week. She definitely gets use out of it!

  8. I love these ideas. I am the QUEEN of dressing up a gift card. In my opinion it doesn’t matter how small the amount it is. Subscriptions are a great gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. When I was a child my grandmother got me a subscription for Highlight and it was the best thing EVER.

  9. I gave my close friends gift cards! They actually love the idea and the gift itself because I included a personal message why such gift cards are given to them. There’s a purpose included. Yay! It’s really about creativity and the personal message. After all, it’s the thought that counts.

  10. Subscription services sounds a good idea, Catherine. Getting it from a friend is awesome because I am vocal to my friends which magazine I always read so they are aware what magazine I’d like to receive. I just hope I had known this earlier because this is really a good last-minute idea. Thanks for the idea. Happy New Year to you Ms. Alford.

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