9 Fabulous Last-Minute Gift Ideas

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

Woman Offering Christmas Gift

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.

Holiday Hash

Combine in a very big bowl:
  • 3 cups Rice Chex
  • 3 cups Corn Chex
  • 3 cups Cheerios
  • 2 cups small pretzels
  • 2 cups salted peanuts
  • 1 bag (12 oz.) plain M&Ms
  • 1 bag (12 oz.) peanut M&Ms
Melt 2 bags (12 oz.) white chocolate chips or melting wafers according to the package instructions*. Be careful to not overcook as these chips burn quickly. Pour the melted white chocolate over the mixture and with a strong long-handled wooden spoon toss well to coat.
Spread the hash out on waxed paper and let set until the chocolate hardens.
Store in an airtight container or pour into gift bags. If you get the red and green M&Ms you’ll have a very festive looking result. This makes a lot. You should be able to make 10 to 15 gifts depending on the size of your containers.

*Chocolate melting notes: Melting wafers are chocolate formulated for making candy. They are inexpensive, easy to use and available at grocery stores, cake and candy supply stores, and craft stores. Chocolate bars and bakers chocolate melt well. Chocolate chips, however, are formulated to resist melting. You can melt them but it’s tricky. Stir in 1 teaspoon vegetable oil for each ounce of chips. Microwave on medium power at 30-second intervals.

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. Idea: Honor your recipient by gifting a third-world family with a flock of geese ($20) or a share in a goat ($10) to help that family 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.

Photo: World Vision Catalog


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.


Photo: Families.com

Personalized stationery

Use your computer to make a supply of “borrowed-from” or address labels, note paper, thank- you notes or stationery. Most computers come loaded with some kind of print shop software that will do nearly all the work for you. Office supply stores sell the plain stock printable supplies to use in your printer.

Tie your finished products with a festive ribbon and place in an attractive tin for that one of a kind gift. Add a colorful pen and envelopes.


Family photos

Reproduce old family photos using your scanner or photocopier. Even if the photos are black and white, duplicate them on a color printer for the highest quality results. You’ll be amazed how original they will appear when framed.


Some people say giving money as a gift is tacky. I disagree, provided you put a modicum of care into how you package or present it. Money is a great gift. Money always fits and it’s never the wrong color.

Apparently, I’m not alone in thinking that money is okay. Sales of Hallmark greeting cards designed to hold cash have increased nearly 200 percent in the past few years. Banks will trade wrinkled, dirty old money for newly printed, crisp bills for no fee. If you’re clever you’ll figure out how to fold those bills into fun origami shapes (Google “origami money” for instructions). Tuck them into tiny ring boxes or other containers.


Some rights reserved by Bunches and Bits {Karina}

You can always personalize cold cash with a warm note. A few XXs and OOs—the universal symbols of kisses and hugs—will make the gift even more valuable.

DON’T MISS: Best Creative and Inexpensive Homemade Gifts!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Caught yourself reading all the way 'til the end? Why not share with a friend.

4 replies
  1. Vicki Tweed
    Vicki Tweed says:

    My family has been making your Holiday Hash recipe at Christmas for about 10 years now. My husband and daughter both work at schools (one public and one private) and this is what they give their coworkers as gifts. In fact, we just finished bagging it about an hour ago. 65 bags and 6 bowls (for the extra special friends). They always get asked every year as it gets closer to Christmas, “Are you making that yummy stuff again this year?” So thankful I found your recipe all those years ago. It’s been the perfect gift and has become a tradition we look forward to each year. And thankful for you and your ministry in our lives. Have a blessed Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

    • Mary Hunt
      Mary Hunt says:

      Thanks for your sweet comments, Vicki! That means the world to me and I’m so grateful to know you’re out there! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  2. Cally
    Cally says:

    Thank you for the wonderful suggestion to give in honor of someone! my sister’s birthday is one week before Christmas and trying to make the birthday special has always been a challenge. she will be thrilled to know she helped provide geese to a family who has so little. I’m excited for her to get the email! so little money and such a life-changing impact!

  3. Tim55
    Tim55 says:

    These are great last minute gift Ideas for Christmas! Here is another Gift Idea I want to add, You can also Give a Gift to someone of a tech software like Windows,MSoffice or VPN on Christmas, Which can be so useful for a gift receiver, Specially VPN which enhance the internet security and also make you able to access the restricted content from all over the world. Also its easy to get a VPN on Christmas season as many VPNs offers great deals, Like PureVPN is offering 88% discount on its 5 year 5 years subscription so it will cost only 79$ instead 578$


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *