6 Fabulous Last-Minute Gift Ideas

Need a list-minute gift for an office party, birthday your trusty mail carrier, a beloved teacher, co-worker or anyone else on your Christmas gift list? Here are six great ideas that won’t take much time, and certainly won’t break the bank.

Gift and Art

Photo explosion box. Imagine a small photo album “box,” made from scrapbooking card stock, which folds out to reveal special photos when the lid is removed. What a perfect gift for parents, grandparents, children—anyone who loves photos. You can make this in just a few hours. In fact, while you’re at it make several. Find a complete tutorial HERE.

10-Minute homemade candy. Even if you are not a cook, if you have 10 minutes you can make Oreo Truffles. Put three sleeves of regular Oreo cookies in the food processor. Add 8 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature. Process until incorporated. Form small balls with a 2-teaspoon scoop or roll in your clean hands. Place on sheet pan and chill. Dip in melted dark chocolate and drizzle with white chocolate.

Give a treasure. Consider passing on an heirloom or family treasure to the next generation as a Christmas gift. Write a paragraph or two explaining the history or significance of the heirloom to go along with the gift. You will be preserving family history but not spending a dime. But here is the tricky part: Unless a person has expressed a particular love or desire for said heirloom and special treasure, do not assume your gesture will be appreciated.

Give an experience. Think about fun activities you could do with different people on your list: dinner for a friend; reading night and snacks with the grandkids; and movie night with the grandparents, complete with snacks. How about tickets to a local zoo, a day-trip on Amtrak? Write a description of the experience your recipient will receive, noting the day, time and all the details.

The gift of compassion. If you want your gift to say how much you care, then find a way to show you care about what matters most to your recipient. Is he or she passionate about medical research? Become a bone marrow donor to honor this person. An environmentalist? Donate to an organization that reforests, and plant a tree in his name. Honor your recipient by gifting a third-world family with a flock of geese ($20) or a share in a goat ($10) to help them become self-reliant through either Heifer or WorldVision. In just minutes you can place your order online, and print the gift card describing what you gave in his or her name.

Give what you do best. Often the most meaningful gifts are those that cost no money at all. A gift from the heart is a gift of time and talent. Do you cook, clean, babysit, garden, sew, drive or shop? Create a gift certificate and make what you do the gift that you give. Hint: Follow up within a few days to set the exact time your certificate will be redeemed. Your recipient may be too embarrassed to remind you to make good on your gift.

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A piece of cake sitting on top of a wooden table
generic gift cards
female hands holding small brown paper wrapped gift with sprig of fresh greenery
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4 replies
  1. Heng07 says:

    Along with it comes an issue associated with what to get for one’s mothers and fathers, since both their demands would be different.

  2. Flo says:

    I have been donating to Heifer, Int. for a number of years, as my way to eliminate the stress of Christmas gifts. All of the adults to whom I would ordinarily give gifts, get a Heifer gift, where most needed. Always the right color, the right size, and can’t be returned. Most of the adults I know already have as much, or more than they need, and Heifer provides families with the opportunity to improve their situations, and give to others in their community. I recommend it heartily.

  3. Sandra says:

    The quick and easy candy suggestion sounds wonderful for last minute gifts. Re. World Vision…it’s a member of A membership organization showing how donated monies are used. I always check ECFA first, then give to those non-profits who are transparent in their finances.

  4. DianaB says:

    Those are great ideas, and not just for Christmas. You might also check out the recipe for pretzels and Rolo candies. Boy, are those easy and are they good. Mmmm. I made them and didn’t have a chance to give them away before they were gone. But I did make candy cane marshmallow-chocolate dunked dippers to give away. They were awesomely easy, as well. Don’t remember what they are called exactly but easy to find the recipe online for candy cane marshmallows


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