5 Incredibly Last-Minute Christmas Gifts

This one goes out to all my procrastinators out there. You know who you are. It is December 22nd, and there are still six people on your list that you haven’t bought a thing for. Here are some ideas for presents that are easy, probably cost nothing, super fast, and don’t completely suck. A Christmas miracle! Whatever you do, don’t resort to a gift card.

By Mallory Beck


Books from your shelf

The thing about books is once you read them, you don’t need them anymore. Pick out a few that you’ve already read, stack them up and wrap them in a little ribbon with a bow. That’s freaking cute. For extra points, write little sentimental notes on the inside covers. Here I’ll write one for you: “Sally, I really liked this book when I read it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. One of the characters reminds me of you, but I’ll let you guess which one.” Haven’t read a book since you were a kid? “Frank, this book was a really big part of my childhood. I know you’re a little old for it, but it’s still worth the quick read. Sometimes children’s books have the most to teach us.” Genius!

Photo from Fresh From Oregon

Photo from Fresh From Oregon

Baked goods

Look up a recipe and whip up some Christmas joy, then just put those bad boys in a tin, get a bow and make them look super cute. It’s all about presentation that makes a gift seem like it took a lot of effort. And I mean everyone loves baked goods. If you want a recipe idea, I just baked these and they’re really good!

A mixtape

There are many forms this could take, depending on how old-school you want to go. If they have a car that plays CDs, that could be pretty cool. A CD gives the music you gave them a unique place in their music listening life. You could also just make them a Spotify playlist, which is so easy, but really special and sweet. Make the title super personal like “Songs That Remind Me of That Time We Went to Your Aunt’s Farm” Personal stuff like that makes people flip out.

A journal with prompts

In an empty journal, at the top of every couple of pages, put a prompt about their life to write about. Some examples: “Write about your elementary school. Who was your best friend?,” “Make a list of all the places you’ve visited,” “What has been life’s biggest lesson?”. This is a good idea for someone like a grandparent. They get to remember their life, think of all the things that were important to them, and impart their wisdom. Then, you have their recollections and wisdom written down to keep and maybe even pass down. But this idea can really be adapted to anyone on your list.

Photo from Andrea’s Notebook

Photo from Andrea’s Notebook

Be an artist on something

Paint a pot with a plant in it, a vase for flowers, or a jar to hold pencils. You could write a quote, an inside joke, or just paint it. Let Pinterest inspire you. It doesn’t matter if the pot was in your garage, and you paint like a four year old, it’s the perceived effort that counts.

The lesson to take away from these gift ideas is to let your procrastination and struggling bank account be an inspiration, not a hindrance. You can always find creative ways to give people something that means something to them. If you share a memory with someone of camping and eating 20 Nature Valley granola bars, then a granola bar and a sweet note could make them happier than a pair of expensive earrings.