Last-Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

2012 Dec 20 |  Written by:  | Tags: , ,

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Ideas, 4.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings Our holiday shopping should have been done weeks ago, right? Right. Unfortunately for those of us who are really busy juggling work, home and other things (or for those of us who are just professional procrastinators), we rely on those few precious days before the actual Christmas Day to tick off our gift-giver’s list. And while the more foresighted of us are correct in pointing out that joining the rush of all Christmas rushes will drive anyone mad, it’s not the end of the world.

We’ve come up with a list of some excellent last-minute holiday gift ideas for men, women and children (no scented candles, we promise), along with tips on how to make them more special. These items are not only easy to find and buy, they’ll have people thinking you spent hours coming up with perfect gifts and most importantly, will show that you care this season!


cookie jarIf there’s one thing the holidays aren’t going to run out of, it’s food. Chocolate truffles, cakes, cookies, sweets of all kinds that can be readily bought anywhere will usually be readily boxed or packaged somehow, and will suit either gender of all ages. For kids, you can simply fill mason jars or fun-looking containers with treats and lollies and tie a pretty Xmas ribbon around it. Write a personalised note (use the person’s name) instead of a generic “Merry Christmas” message and attach to your present to make it more thoughtful. If you know what kind of baked goods the recipient prefers, so much the better!


wine giftYou can never go wrong with giving a bottle of good wine or spirits as a last-minute Christmas gift. Instead of the usual gift bag, wrap the bottle in neatly trimmed sinamay, fabric or coloured tissue. Tie twine or ribbon around the bottle and attach a handwritten note. For those who don’t drink alcohol, kids or teenagers, put together fun ready-to-drink packages by arranging marshmallows, cinnamon sticks, chocolate chips and instant cocoa mix in a large mug. Place the whole thing in the centre of a sheet of wrapping paper, tissue or cloth, gather the corners and edges together in a bunch above the mug, secure with twine or ribbon and attach a gift tag.

Picnic Hamper

hamperWith Christmas happening in the summer in Australia, forego the usual Xmas gift basket and opt for a picnic hamper instead. This is a great idea for couples or families who enjoy the outdoors. Fill a picnic basket with ready-to-cook food items and drinks, utensils and accessories, a blanket and whatever else you fancy. You can even include novelty items like this hands-free wine holder. Tie a large bow around the handle and include a note with your holiday wishes. Practical people will appreciate being given presents that they can use for the rest of the year!

Arts & Crafts/School & Office Supplies

drawingAt a loss for what to give kids or your colleagues at the office? Head to the largest bookstore, office supply or arts & crafts shop near you. You’d be surprised at what you can find. For kids, you can fill a gift bag with arts & crafts items that go together: for example, a set of pastel colours and drawing pencils with a colouring book, or a scrapbook with art paper, fun stamps and stickers. Memo pads with fun or inspiring quotes, stacks of post-its, amusing bookends, label makers, desk accessories, fountain pens or personalised journals will be more appreciated than you think by colleagues, friends or family members who are never far away from their desks at work.


towelsWhether it’s barbecue tools or guest towels, home and kitchen items are ideal last-minute presents, primarily because you can easily find them wherever you shop. These are also great gift ideas when you’re unsure of what the recipient likes or when they’re hard-to-please. Stick to the basics: commonly-used kitchen items such as knives and utensils, storage containers, knife blocks, baking items, glassware if you want to be fancy, small appliances such as toasters or slow cookers. For homeware, keep it simple with things like towels, cushions or pillows, vases and lamps, bathroom products or decorative items. Neutrals or earth-tones are your best bets if you don’t know which colours to get. Don’t forget to wrap and attach a Xmas note to your present!

Events, Activities and Travel

passportSometimes, the best Xmas gifts are not material things, but experiences. If you can’t get away from your computer screen long enough to brave the shopping crowds but have missed shipping deadlines for online stores, try booking events and activities as presents. This works best if you know your recipients enough, as your introverted sister might not take it too well if you sign her up for bungee jumping, for example. There are plenty of websites, travel companies and events organisers everywhere that can help you with this. Open tickets to exotic locations, cooking, baking, bar tending or dancing lessons, wine tastings, weekend getaways, sports events, gallery openings, shows, performances and concerts for the coming year – there’s so much for you to choose from. To be safe, don’t set exact dates or ask the people you’ll be giving these Christmas presents to when they’d prefer to take you up on your generous offer.

Gift Certificates and Subscriptions

GCYes, these generally scream, “rush!” But not so when you’ve selected appropriate Xmas gift certificates or subscriptions for the right persons (and granted that you don’t go giving these to everyone – that’s just plain lazy). There are plenty of e-Certificates and online subscriptions that you can choose from, up until the night before Christmas. Just do a bit of thinking when you choose. A stressed-out friend will appreciate a gift certificate for a spa treatment or massage while a dad who works out will like a monthly subscription to a health magazine for men. There are numerous websites, magazines and reputable companies that give out freebies when you subscribe, like beauty products or food samples. Fill out the name of the recipient and if possible, include a short Xmas note for him/her.


signatureWe all have our versions of “bling,” depending on the kind of personalities, lifestyles or jobs we have. But regardless, everyone will enjoy having something that’s right up their alley. For the tech buffs, consider Xmas gifts like  laptop sleeves, funky keyboard brushes, head/earphones or flash drives in funny shapes. Give busy people things to help keep their lives organised, like key holders or a watch, and get car enthusiasts a set of tools. The trick here is to find out what your recipient loves best; a helpful tip is to take a quick poll on his/her top two interests then when shopping, head to that department or a shop that specialises in such things instead of wandering around. If you’re not sure, ask – that’s what salespeople are there for, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Any other ideas for last-minute gifts that you’ve successfully given the past holiday seasons? Share them with us in the comments section below! You can also check out our guide on DIY gift-wrapping for creative ways to make presents more special, and browse through our recipes for holiday food gift ideas! Happy holidays!

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