Many of us have a lot of people on our Christmas gift lists. With the holiday crush, it’s often difficult to find the time to buy a gift for everyone, let alone a gift of a personal nature. That can force us into the unfortunate game of buying last-minute Christmas gifts.
If time becomes an obstacle this Christmas season, there are some great last-minute Christmas gifts that you can get on-the-fly.
Gift cards to merchants you know they‘ll use
Many people don’t like the idea of giving gift cards. They feel that they’re too impersonal, and imply only a minimal amount of thought. That may be true, but giving a gift card is a lot better than giving nothing at all! And it’s a lot better than buying a gift for someone that they don’t really need or want. With a gift card, the person you’re giving it to is free to buy whatever they want.
If you’re going to get a gift card, make sure that it’s for a merchant that the recipient is likely to shop at. For example, a Macy’s gift card is an excellent choice for a person who you know shops at Macy’s.
If you don’t know specifically what merchants the recipient frequents, then go for gift cards with the most universal appeal. Shopping malls offer general use gift cards that are good in any store in the mall. Movie theater gift cards are another excellent choice if you don’t know someone’s interests. Since most everyone goes to the movies sooner or later, a movie theater gift card will always be appreciated.
A couple of other advantages of gift cards – you can put them in the mail, or pick them up on the way to visit with the person. It doesn’t get any more last-minute than that!
This is easy if you know the kind of music the person likes. CDs are quick and easy to get, and you can buy them almost anywhere. They’re relatively inexpensive, and even if the recipient already has that CD, they can always return it for cash, a swap or store credit. And the fact that you’re acknowledging their taste in music makes the gift personal.
The gift of time
Many times people want your time more than they want a specific thing. The time that you spend with them is the gift itself. In a world that’s often so disconnected, this is something we may not fully appreciate.
Sometimes just a visit is enough of a gift. But you can make it even more special by having dinner together or even spending an afternoon shopping. What you do when you’re with them will depend on the nature of your relationship and shared interests.
Time can be a truly special gift to the elderly, and especially those who have lost a spouse and don’t get much company.
A dinner invitation
A dinner invitation for a holiday party at your home can be even more special than a gift. When I was a kid, eating dinner at other people’s houses was common. Today it mostly happens in restaurants. Inviting someone to have dinner at your house is almost a novelty! And it says that you think that the person you’re inviting is special, and worthy of your time, hospitality and cooking skills.
If you want to turn it into a more formal “gift”, you can buy a card or make one up, and include the dinner invitation with the card. You can have the invitation to them before Christmas, even if the dinner is held after the holiday.
If you’re looking for a really quick, last-minute Christmas gift, you can’t go wrong with flowers. They may not be appropriate for men in most cases, but they’re usually a winner with women. And since something better than 50% of the population is female, that will solve at least half of your last-minute gift problems.
And not only are they quick and easy to buy, and you can also have them delivered.
Like having people over for dinner, baking has become a lost art. But a homemade cake or a tin of freshly baked cookies will be welcomed in most households. Just the fact that you baked them yourself speaks loudly that you put more thought into your gift than most people typically do.
It’s not a gift that you’ll be able to give if you’re heading to visit with a person tonight, but it’s certainly something you can do if you have at least 24 hours notice.
A picture collage with shared photos
If you want to give a gift to a family member or close friend who you have shared experiences and memories with, you probably have photos recording the events. Put a few of them together in a picture collage or a photo album, and give it as a gift.
That will be a collection of shared experiences that the recipient is likely to treasure far more than store-bought gift.
Notice that a lot of these gifts are not only last-minute quickies, but they’re also fairly inexpensive compared to store-bought gifts. Some of them may be gifts you want to consider giving as a way of saving money too.
Do you have suggestions for last-minute Christmas gifts?