No matter how well you’ve planned things and how far ahead you started your holiday purchases, there will always be a few gifts that you end up buying at the last minute. Sometimes, you’ve forgotten someone on your shopping list or just waited because you couldn’t decide what to buy. But most of the time, it’s pure and simple procrastination.
If you fit any of these descriptions, you are not alone: a 2020 study revealed that more than half of Americans literally wait until the last minute (yes, even Christmas Eve!) to buy their presents.
The good news is that today, traditional and internet commerce is already well prepared for shoppers who leave to buy things on the 23rd or 24th of December. Even if they’re last-minute gifts, remember that these purchases don’t have to feel rushed.
There are several last-minute shopping ideas that don’t seem generic. On the contrary, the person receiving the gift will appreciate it.
A Unique or Practical Gift
If you know the person well, you can try to find something unique that reflects their personality and interests. The big tip is to give problem-solvers instead of purposeless things.
For example, if your recipient is a bookworm, common sense dictates that you buy them a new book. But how do you know which titles they haven’t read yet? Do some research to find out what your friend is looking for, or give them something practical and unique like a lovely book holder, a new bookshelf, or even a table lamp.
If your friend needs new glasses or sunglasses (let’s say they broke or lost their pair recently), you can buy them a spare pair. Use your imagination to choose a model that matches the face and style of the recipient, and always buy durable eyeglasses so that the gift will accompany your friend for years to come.
A Gift Card
When you do not know the gifted person that well – let’s say it is a co-worker or distant relative –the safest option is to give them a gift card and let them buy whatever they want. But you can still put some thought and personalization into the gift card.
Research the person’s life to discover their interests and hobbies. Suppose you need to buy something for the book lover of the previous item. In that case, a gift card from some bookstore will certainly be very appreciated (taking the responsibility of buying the wrong title or author off your shoulders). If your friends love to take care of themselves, a health or beauty store gift card can make a difference.
But there are a few things you need to watch out for so your gift doesn’t become a nightmare:
- Save the gift card receipt, just in case.
- Research the gift card and the store that sells them before you buy.
- Always read the terms and conditions.
- Find out the date on which the gift card expires and inform the recipient about it.
A Nice Bottle of Wine or Spirits
A bottle of wine or spirits is easily one of the best gifts to celebrate any occasion. Some will be so pleased that they will open the bottle right away to enjoy the moment with their loved ones.
But gifting a wine connoisseur can be challenging. Never look for a cheap bottle in those supermarket sales to give to an expert. Research the person’s favorite wineries to find the best options.
If you don’t know anything about wines, maybe it is best to go back to the previous item and give a gift card to a wine shop (so that the recipient can choose the bottle they want). Or, to be original, give them a monthly subscription to one of those wine box services.
Give the Gift of Experience
When you don’t have a clue about what to buy, or you need to gift a person who already has everything, you can give them a different experience that can become something memorable.
The sky’s the limit. If the person likes to travel, buy them one of those gift cards that allow choosing between different hotels and resorts in the country or abroad.
You can even come up with something unique. When gifting someone who likes games, look for a printing service and turn a beautiful photo of the two of you into one of those 500 to 1,000-piece puzzles.
A Last-Minute Gift Doesn’t Have to be Boring
Although many stores start their Christmas sales in October, it is natural to leave some purchases to the last minute – either out of forgetfulness or out of sheer laziness. Always remember you may have to face crowded (or closed) stores, empty shelves, and long lines whenever you leave shopping at the last minute. Either way, with a little creativity and imagination, you can still turn last-minute shopping into a meaningful experience for your recipient.