6 Fabulous Last-Minute Gift Ideas

Need a last-minute gift for a neighbor, friend, a beloved teacher, or anyone else on your gift list? Here are six great ideas that won’t take much time, and certainly won’t break the bank.

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.

Gather some photos. Print from your phone or device. Take screenshots from Instagram, dig through your phone or find that box of old family photos and “snapshots!” While you’re there, dig out all those scrapbook supplies you’ve been hoarding.

You can make a photo explosion box in just a few hours. In fact, while you’re at it make several. Find a complete tutorial here, or search around. Lots of YouTube videos out there if you need more help.

10-Minute Homemade Candy

Even if you are not a cook, if you have 10 minutes you can make Oreo Truffles—the perfect last-minute gift! Hey, it needs to be fresh right?

  1. Put three sleeves of regular Oreo Cookies in the food processor.
  2. Add 8 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature.
  3. Process until incorporated.
  4. Form small balls with a 2-teaspoon scoop or roll in your clean hands.
  5. Place on sheet pan and chill for 5 minutes.
  6. 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 safely 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.

A 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 pair of chickens ($25) 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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2 replies
  1. Ann Wiess says:

    what ever happened to giving good old fashioned cash? That’s the best way to show love, if you ask me. My husband always gives me a new $20 bill for Christmas.


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