Beyond the Gift Card: Last Minute Gift Ideas

It's not quite last minute but when I was shopping this weekend I noticed things are really picked over (I'm talking to you Christmas sweaters at Target.)  And if you are truly a last minute shopper, many of the toys, electronics and clothing that are the HOT gifts this year will have been snapped up by the early birds.  But that doesn't mean that it's gift cards for everyone on your list.  In fact, this is about some fun, thoughtful and quick gift ideas to help you avoid the gift card abyss.

Photo Gifts and Books- There's still time to download your photos and make cute gifts for everyone on your list. offers a few same day gifts: prints on canvas, calendars and photo books to name a few.  Download your photos online and pick up your personalized gifts today.  Snapfish also offers store pick up on some gifts at Walgreens.  Photo gifts look like you put much thought into what the recipient likes yet most sites are very user friendly and offer preset templates making it easy peasy.  The hardest part is picking out the perfect photo.

Wine/Liquor - And, don't just toss the bottle in a bag (although I wouldn't send anyone away if they did).  Add some wine or martini glasses (check the Dollar Tree before you hit the department stores), cheese & crackers or olives and you can put together a great gift. A drink kit is a fun idea, too.  Maybe for mimosas or rum and coke or a signature cocktail. The Red Rooster is always a hit around here.

Magazine Subscriptions - Buy the current issue of the recipient's favorite magazine and add a note saying that you have ordered a subscription for them.  Pop it in a cute gift bag with plenty of colorful tissue and ribbon and you're set. This is a gift that keeps on giving and you can do REALLY last minute (Christmas eve shopper?  This is for you).

Baked Goods - People love homemade goodies! I always keep baking supplies on hand and some tins and containers for homemade gifts.  A cute container and lots of ribbon makes for a pretty presentation.  A really fun idea is the ever popular Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls. Who wouldn't love to serve something delicious on the morning of December 25th? These make a great hostess gift as well.

Movies - These days, movie gifts go way beyond movie passes (remember, we're trying to avoid anything like a gift card and call them passes if you want but they're still gift cards).  The Dollar Tree is your friend with these cute popcorn buckets:
Fill these up with some microwave popcorn, sodas and candy along with a DVD or even a Neflix membership for a really fun family gift.  If you're lucky, the recipient will invite you to watch along!

School Supplies - If you're shopping for school aged kids this is a fabulous idea.  Any parent will tell you that by Winter break most of the supplies that were purchased in August are nearing the end of their usefulness. Things like glue sticks, pencils, markers and crayons. Even binders, folders and pencil cases look worse for the wear. Pick out some fun colors if you buy a binder or folder and some festive pencils and pens (Target's dollar spot has some cute ones now). All of these items can be picked up at the grocery store or dollar store very last minute.  

Plants and Flowers - Everyone loves a pretty plant or bouquet of flowers.  They're easy to pick up at the grocery store and most floral departments have a nice selection of vases.

What are your favorite last minute gift ideas?


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