Ten Best Last Minute Christmas Presents

It’s the week before Christmas, and you’ve spent as much time as you could trying to think of last minute Christmas presents for You-Know-Who (relative of Cindy Lou, of the well-known Who family – Christmas means a lot to them). Can it really be possible that inspiration still has yet to strike?

Last Minute Presents


Fear not, for we bring tidings of some great ideas that might yet work for you. Take a look at our list:

1. Custom Gift Baskets – This can work any number of ways – how do you know this person? Is she your tennis partner? OK, then stop in the pro shop where you go twice a week anyway, and pick up some tennis balls, socks, a wristband, the current copy of Tennis magazine, maybe another water bottle and some energy bars – whatever looks good. Arrange them in a basket with a bow, and there you go. Sort of like Easter in December …

2. Spotify Premium Subscription – Loyal readers of AL already know we’re huge fans of Spotify. We’ve been listening to all the obscure Christmas albums and choral music.  Get a year’s premium subscription for someone for $10 per month and let them see how much they like having access to millions of CD on any device, anywhere. You can make it more personal by making a playlist for them of stuff you think they might like.

3. A Real, Paper Magazine Subscription – These are going the way of the dodo, of course, but it might be a nice idea to give one while you still can. We like Wired, Rolling Stone, and The New Yorker — and enjoy holding them in our hands every month. There’s Consumer Reports for the practical folks. Plus, subscriptions are more and more including digital access – Wired, in particular, has a ton of great multimedia on the iPad version for subscribers. Buy the festive December issue in a store and wrap it with the subscription card to make it more tangible.

4. Gift Card for the Fancy Lingerie Store – (Proprietress of said lingerie store strongly disagrees: “She wants you to buy her something pretty!”) Never mind that – there are issues with trying on (not!), returning underwear and the horrible downside of buying something too small, or maybe worse, too big … all enough to make Maxwell’s head explode. It might end up being redeemed at a great after-Christmas sale, too.

5. Wine Accessories – More creative than a bottle of wine are all the fun tools that can make wine consumption more entertaining. Fancy wine-stoppers, vacuum seals, aerators, modern corkscrews (the Rabbit!  the electric opener!), seal-cutters and wine carriers — an endless supply of wine accessories can likely be found at gadget stores, wine shops, department stores and places like Williams-Sonoma.

6. Beauty Accessories – Stores like Sephora have an entire section devoted to helping the last-minute shopper.  From cosmetic bags to make-up brushes, decorative hair ornaments to travel containers, cosmetic stores and the cosmetic/toiletry departments of larger stores typically have attractive, useful, and affordable gifts any recipient will appreciate.

7. Stationery Supplies – EVERYONE needs thank-you notes (or they should . . .), and the note cards need not say, “Thank you!” to serve this purpose. Pretty note cards or paper, with artistic designs or monogrammed with an initial are items that everyone can use and hardly anyone ever buys for herself. Moreover, one might be even more encouraged to pen that note with an unusual writing implement or one of those modern stampers with the interchangeable plates. And this gift is one whose use you might personally experience.

8. Museum Memberships – I just posted all the advantages of museum memberships, and they might be just the thing for a family that might not think to buy one for themselves. Depending on where you live, you can get them for zoos and other entertaining places. Not only that, but a good bit of it is TAX-DEDUCTIBLE! To you!

Candles - last minute presents

9. Candles – You can get lots of different kinds of colored and scented candles literally anywhere — even a 24 hour big-box drugstore. Nobody has enough candles, and even if they do, they light them on fire and burn them up and end up needing more.

10. Gadgets for Gadgets – The possibilities are so endless they’ve almost become alternate lyrics for one of those Christmas songs, but they do give you myriad choices for last-minute gifts. Phone cases, chargers, sensors in mittens,  headphones in hats and apps to feed kittens — you name it, your friends with smartphones (and fingers, heads, and cats) probably could make use of it and may not already have it.  These gadgets are ubiquitous, too — again, at gadget stores, department stores, office supply stores, big-box stores — and they are useful and affordable.

So that’s some ideas from us to get you started. There are zillions of gift cards and subscriptions available — we thought it would be cheating to give them each their own number.

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