Five Simple Last Minute Gifts for the Holidays

By Kelly Hodges
With less than a week left until Christmas we’re officially in the home stretch!  If you’ve waited until the last minute to finish up your shopping, don’t panic.  There are still some great options for those both short on time and budget who still want to give a meaningful gift to their loved ones this year.  And the best part of all is that none of these suggestions require a frenzied trip to the mall or involve you nervously pacing the floor on December 24th looking for the UPS man to arrive.  Here are my top 5 last minute gifts that are relatively easy and inexpensive to put together in the next few days.  None are elaborate or extravagant, but often it’s the simplest gifts that carry the most meaning.

1.  Homemade Cookies.  Who doesn’t love a fresh plate of cookies this time of year (or any time of year for that matter!)  You don’t have to be Betty Crocker to mix up a delicious batch of holiday cheer as traditional cookies such as peanut blossoms or 7 layer bars are about as easy of recipes as you can come up with.  Each year our family sets aside a morning and makes dozens of cookies that then get put onto festive paper plates and deliver to all our neighbors.  It’s a great token of our friendship and doesn’t set us back any more than the cost of the ingredients…plus it’s a fun family experience to all bake the cookies together.

2.  Photo Gifts.  This is a great time of year to go through all of the pictures sitting on your digital camera and pick out a few to actually print out.  Is there a great shot of you and your mom from the Fourth of July?  Order a 5×7 from Walgreens or another drug store near you for about a dollar, and it will be ready in an hour.  Pick up an inexpensive frame and you have a personalized gift the recipient will love.

3.  Christmas Music CD.  Everyone loves listening to Christmas music this time of year.  Pick out some of your favorite holiday tunes from your own collection and make a mix CD for your friends and family.  The best part is that you only have to do the work of making the CD once, and then just burn as many copies as you need.    The blank CDs will cost less than a quarter each, but it’s a thoughtful gift that will keep on giving enjoyment for years to come.

4.  The Gift of Time.  We are all so busy these days that often quality time is what our loved ones crave most from us.  Consider giving the gift of your time this year.  Help your father-in-law paint the garage he’s been talking about for the past 5 years.  Baby-sit for your niece and nephew so your brother and his wife can have a nice evening out.  Plan a special day with your child at the ice rink, or the library, or even at home playing the games of his choice.  The people you love most want to spend time with you more than they want whatever material gift you have chosen for them.  Be creative and give them a physical “coupon” or “ticket” that they can then redeem.  This won’t cost you a penny and is probably something you will end up enjoying as well.

5.  The Gift of Words.  When’s the last time you told your parents how you feel about them?  Your siblings?  Your best friend?  Your spouse?  We often take for granted that those closest to us know that we love them, so we don’t bother saying it.  Take some time and sit down and write out a card from your heart.  Say all the things that you feel but never get around to saying.  I can guarantee you that of all gifts big or small that you give this year, this will hold the most meaning and be the most treasured by its recipient.


Any opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author, and do not in any way represent the views or opinions of her employer or any other person or entity.

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