11 Very Last-Minute Gift Ideas They'll Love

Maressa Brown | Dec 19, 2014 Home & Garden

woman online shopping christmas
iStock.com/Eva Katalin Kondoros

As we count down the days to Christmas and Hanukkah, now is just about that time when those of us who are procrastinators start pulling out all the stops. Have no shame! PLENTY of us are last-minute shoppers. In fact, a past year's survey found that as of December 10, the average shopper had only finished about 52.9 percent of her shopping

last minute shopping tips

Just because a holiday gift is being purchased at the very last minute doesn't have mean it has to be a lame or thoughtless gift. Not at all! There are some really amazing gifts we'd absolutely love to receive that are available -- and easy to buy -- just in the nick of time. Don't waste time feeling guilty about procrastinating. We've made last-minute gift buying easy. 

More from CafeMom: 10 Non-Toy Gifts Kids Will Absolutely Love  

Thankfully, there are plenty of tricks to use to get all those gifts in time! We talked to retail experts and procrastinating moms to round up 11 of the best tips and suggestions for shopping at the eleventh hour. Check 'em out and then get to checking off that shopping list before there really is no more time to waste. 

More from CafeMom: Walmart Isn't Open on Christmas But These Places Are! 

  • Gift an Experience


    Instead of a generic gift card, consider a gift certificate for a local restaurant, hotel chain, or airline. The experience could be far and away the most creative and thoughtful gift they've ever received. (What mom doesn't want an excuse for a mini-getaway?!)

  • Take Advantage of Speedy Shipping


    Even if you tend to prefer to pick out gifts in a brick and mortar store, many online retailers (including Zappos and UncommonGoods.com) offer expedited shipping that will make sending off a gift just in time for Christmas or Hanukkah so easy.

  • Boost Their Beauty Quotient


    For the makeup, bath, and body product lover in your life, a Birchbox subscription -- which delivers a monthly box of five beauty samples from high-end brands every -- is a smart, painless, instant gift that will definitely keep on giving. Subscriptions start at $30 (+ a $2.95 service fee) for three months, and you can choose for deliveries to begin whenever you want. They often offer discounts on subscriptions close to the holidays too!

  • Get Culinary


    Like Birchbox, Kidstir is a monthly subscription box. The recipient (like your fave foodie mom and her little one!) will be notified of the gift email immediately and will later receive monthly hands-on cooking kits that make it easy for kids to build their own cookbooks, try new foods, and learn all about where food comes from. Gift subscriptions start at $15.95/month.

    For adult recipients, you could try an at-home cooking service like BlueApron.com, which offers gifts that start at $8.99/serving, or Plated.com, which starts at $9.95/serving.

  • Use In-Store Pickup


    Save your time and your sanity by shopping at stores that offer a "find it in stores" feature on their website. You can then opt to reserve -- or even purchase -- your item for in-store pickup. That way, you can swing in and out of the store and avoid searching the aisles for your gift! (Similarly, Starbucks' mobile ordering through their app could also come in handy while you're out and about and need your caf fix!)

  • Think Small ... Business


    Not only does shopping on Etsy mean you're supporting a small business, but "Etsy shops usually give a production and shipping timeline in their store info," explains Morgan B., a mom of one from Silver Spring, MD. If they don't note their timeline, you can message the seller and ask them if they'll be able to get the gift to you in time. Some may be willing to offer expedited services, depending on what you need.

    They also offer gift cards for those of us who are very last-minute!

  • Gift 'Peace' of Mind


    For a health-conscious recipient, instead of a FitBit or a gym membership, consider a gift subscription to leading meditation site/app Headspace. For $12.99 a month or $95.88 for a year, they'll get a "gym membership for their mind."

  • Check High-End Retailers' Last-Minute Deals


    "As a mom of two kids, this is one of my worst last-minute shopping years," confesses Jennifer H. from Hoboken, NJ. "For my husband, I tend to use Neiman Marcus from December 18 onward, because they have great deals closer to Christmas, and there is often free, two-day -- or even free overnight -- shipping!"


  • Get Crafty


    If you're buying a gift for a kiddo who loves projects and crafting, a Cricket, Koala, Kiwi, Doodle, or Tinker Crate subscription may be perfect. Subscriptions for these age-appropriate gift boxes start at $19.95, and they often offer deals (with printables for easy, last-minute gift giving) around the holidays with a first-month discount.

  • Satisfy a Craving


    For your friend who is homesick for Chicago deep dish, a New York hot dog, a Philly cheesesteak, or another hometown favorite food, check out gourmet food purveyor Goldbely.com, which offers next day or 2-day delivery. They also have an e-card option.

  • Don't Miss the Fine Print


    Prevent unnecessary stress and having to re-do an order by double-checking all the details before hitting "buy" or "place order." Popular gifts are often back-ordered or won't ship in time for some reason. Even if you need to have an online chat with a customer service rep to clarify, it'll save you time -- and possibly money -- in the long-run.

shopping holiday gifts christmas