10 Last-Minute Gift Ideas

So, on a scale from 1 to 10, how well are you doing with your Christmas shopping so far? I think I’ve reached the 50-60% mark as of yesterday, with some things to finish up and all of my wrapping to do. I’m hoping to be completely finished by Wednesday. Fingers crossed! I still have a couple of question marks next to people on my list, and I’m guessing that at least some of you are experiencing the same indecision when it comes to what to buy certain people. We have less than a week to go, but there’s still time to hit the stores and do some last-minute online shopping, so I wanted to share with you a handful of last-minute gift ideas. This is a mix of things I love (or would love) to receive, and also some of my go-to gift ideas for those hard-to-buy-for folks on the list.

For those of you who do online shopping, I’ve included the Amazon.com shipping schedule for holiday orders. You still have a couple of days to get orders in for a Christmas Eve delivery! Below the shipping schedule is the list of 10 last-minute gift ideas, enjoy!

1. SodaStream Home Soda Maker

You may remember that I gave one of these away earlier this summer, and my Chief Culinary Consultant and I are still loving it. It’s so easy to make all different types of pop (sorry, in Pittsburgh it’s pop!), as well as seltzer water. And now you can buy replacement carbon dioxide tanks and the soda flavors at places like Macy’s and Staples. Super convenient!

2. Perfume/cologne

I am a big fan of getting perfume as a gift because I rarely buy it for myself. For the last handful of years I’ve been wearing the Vera Wang original scent. I love it – it smells clean and fresh without being overpowering.

3. Magazine subscriptions

I looooove magazines! It’s almost an addiction. Right now I get Cook’s Illustrated, Everyday Food, Real Simple, Women’s Health, Whole Living, Inc., Entrepreneur, and Pittsburgh Magazine. The great thing is that there is literally a magazine for every interest and hobby you could possibly think of, so if there is someone on your list that’s hard to buy for, browse through magazines that would fit their lifestyle and you can’t go wrong!

4. DVD sets

I like watching older movies and sometimes even TV shows, and the bundles of DVDs make it perfect for snow-day marathons. I’ve previously bought my sister the Sex and the City DVD set, and my Chief Culinary Consultant the James Bond movie set. If you have an old favorite in mind, I guarantee you’ll be able to find it as a set.

5. Books

Akin to the magazines, I love receiving books. I try to gobble up as much reading as I can. Whether you want to pick up some fiction (a couple of my favs this year were Freedom and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet), get something a little different (Food Matters, The Omnivore’s Dilemma or Food Rules) or go the cookbook route, if the person you’re buying for is a reader, you really can’t go wrong.

6. Tickets

I’m a big “experience” type of person. I think it’s fun to both give and receive “experiences” as opposed to physical gifts if the timing and opportunity are a fit. For example, I recently got my mom tickets for her, my sister and I to go to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra since I knew she wanted to see them last year. If a person on your list loves sporting events, particular musicians, the theater or opera, I think tickets of some sort can make excellent gifts.

7. Video game system

I grew up on Super Mario Brothers and I still love video games. Whether it’s NHL12 on a PlayStation or Tiger Woods golf on the Wii, I eat it all up. If you know someone wants or will appreciate a gaming system, it’s an awesome gift. And if someone already has a system, you certainly can’t go wrong with buying them some new games.

8. Gift certificate to a spa

Treating yourself to some time at a spa and relaxing while getting a massage, pedicure and/or a manicure is absolutely wonderful, but also something that not many people do for themselves. As a result, getting a gift certificate to a local spa or something like SpaFinder is always such an awesome surprise. It’s great to get a relaxing treat after the craziness of the holidays is over.

9. Chocolate!

Or anything edible. Think a big gift basket from Lindt (I speak from personal experience since I got to enjoy one of these for Valentine’s Day and it lasted me through the summer!), some gourmet peppermint bark and other goodies from Williams-Sonoma, or maybe put together a personalized gift basket that you think the gift recipient would like – infused oils for dipping, hot cocoa and coffee with mugs, etc.

10. Gift card to a favorite restaurant + the movies

A ready-made date to dinner and the movies! I love this gift, and will sometimes include a little basket with movie theater-type candy.

What are some of your favorite creative gift ideas??


21 Responses to “10 Last-Minute Gift Ideas”

  1. Jennifer@Peanut Butter and Peppers on December 19, 2011 at 7:27 am

    I love the last minute gift ideas. At the holiday time, I like to buy extra gift certificates, because there’s always someone I forget! 🙂


  2. sue@ cakeballs, cookies and more on December 19, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Oh I am so glad to finally be done, but when I am stuck chocolate is always my go to.


  3. Phern on December 19, 2011 at 8:48 am

    THANK YOU! Now I know what to get my brother (the pickiest thus most difficult to buy for in our family). I already know he will LOVE the pop maker! Thank you for helping start my day with a sigh of relief!


  4. Melissa @ Kids in the Sink on December 19, 2011 at 9:53 am

    I wouldn’t have thought of a soda maker but that is actually a really good idea. Love these ideas!


  5. Sarah @ See Sarah Bake on December 19, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Ah, so refreshing to hear someone else call it “pop”. It’s rough as a Midwesterner living out in DC- people getting it wrong all the time, calling it soda….silly East Coast 😉


  6. Mal @ The Chic Geek on December 19, 2011 at 10:40 am

    The sodastream is one of the coolest things ever, I got one for my dad this past fathers day and he absolutely loves it. I’m thinking of getting one for my house now too!


  7. Heather T on December 19, 2011 at 10:55 am

    I actually just purchased 2 magazine subscriptions for the husband as stocking stuffers! $15 for a year subscription on 2 mags is a fabulous deal, and something he can enjoy all year long!
    I myself actually asked for a soda stream. I’ve been eyeing them up for a whole year but could never bring myself to spend the money on me! Hopefully santa brings me one. Have a Merry Christmas!


  8. Kathleen on December 19, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Thank for sharing those good ideas! I wasn’t thinking about a pop maker, but I’m a huge fan of seltzer water so its probably a “must” to have one at home. Are replacement carbon dioxide tanks expensive to buy ?

    My christmas shopping is almost all done 🙂 I also purchased some gifts on Amazon. I still have all of my wrapping to do! I’ll probably do it at the end of this week while listening to Christmas music! Best way to be in a festive mood !!


    • Michelle on December 20th, 2011 at 12:44 am

      Hi Kathleen, The replacement carbon dioxide tanks are $14 if you exchange your old one. We started using this back in September and just had to replace the tank a couple of weeks ago, so for us it lasted about 3 months, and we make pop or water in it every couple of days.


  9. Tiffany {A Clove of Garlic} on December 19, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Your list is almost like mine! My shopping is easy though because I don’t have any family near by and my husband and I are childless at the moment, so no big gifts to give anybody. But I love the tickets one. That’s actually my “theme” this year.


  10. Rebecca Herron on December 19, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I happen to LOVE kitchen gadgets, and two of my favorites are the Breville Mini Pie Maker ($50 – Williams Sonoma) and Bella Cucina Mini Muffin Maker ($30 – Amazon). I believe both might be available with free shipping (although not sure this close to Christmas).


  11. Jen M O on December 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    My sisters and I have been making dates to spend time together. I think it is the best gift.


  12. Lindsey Miles on December 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Great ideas! I also loved ‘Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet’ – I’ve been telling all my family & friends to read it 🙂


  13. Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes on December 19, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Thanks for these ideas for all us procrastinators!!


  14. Angela on December 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I love your ideas as well! 🙂 The only ones left are my sisters and mom, and I’m whipping up some of the sugar scrub you posted the other day. 🙂 I love the pop/soda maker. Such a fun gadget to have in the kitchen! 🙂


  15. Jennifer Eloff on December 19, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Interesting ideas – I’d like a couple of those. 😉 Merry Christmas.


  16. Sarah Peters on December 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Great Ideas!
    One more last minute gift idea I wanted to add is giving cards! I found this while I was looking for last minute gifts online http://www.givingbetter.org/giving-blog/give-giving-card-holiday-season


  17. Jackie on December 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I am definitely the worst procrastinator when it comes to buying gifts!! These are some helpful ideas thanks for sharing 🙂 You should definitely suggest a few (or you whole post) to this list of Last Minute Gifts Under $50 > http://www.skinnyscoop.com/list/citychic/under-50-last-minute-gifts-to-love


  18. Hayley on December 19, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Great gift ideas–some of those I didn’t even think of, like the dinner and a movie option. That’d be a perfect, easy gift for my boyfriend’s parents! Thank you!


  19. Kelsey on December 19, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    I’m 90% done. Just need a shirt for my dad and something for the grandparents!
    As far as creative gifts go, a year or two ago I gave my boyfriend a personalized coupon sheet, and it was a lot of fun because he actually redeemed them throughout the year.


  20. Jen at The Three Little Piglets on December 20, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    I’m a big fan of giving and getting tickets myself – my family benefits way more from a zoo membership than from a pile of toys they’ll forget in a month anyway!


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