We’ve all been there: Standing in the aisle at the first store you can find, searching for something — anything — to throw into a gift bag and bring to a party as your contribution. Coming up with a last-minute gift can be a stressful scramble, especially if you still want to give the appearance that you did carefully consider your choice. Need a few last-minute gift ideas to keep in your back pocket this year? Here are 10 things you can easily find for anyone on your list:
1. A quality notebook. Despite the fact that we live in a world of technology, we still need to write things down once in a while. A solid notebook — one bound in leather or another more durable material than cardboard — can make a lovely gift.
2. Fancy drinkware. Whether they prefer Moscow mules, coffee, or tea, or they like to stay hydrated with water, there’s potential inspiration for a gift to be found here. Stop by the store and pick up a new thermos, set of mugs, or cup for their beverage of choice for a gift that’s sure to please.
3. Something from an infomercial. Most stores have a small area filled with “As Seen On TV” items. These gadgets are often hit or miss in terms of whether they actually work as advertised, but they can make great silly gifts. If you’re shopping for someone who appreciates a little lightness and laughter, this is a great way to surprise them with something fun.
4. Coasters. A nice set of coasters can make an easy last-minute gift. Most people don’t keep a set lying around the house, so they’re often a welcome addition to any coffee table or kitchen counter. Choose a classic design if you aren’t quite sure what they’ll like.
5. A bottle of wine. As long as you’re shopping for someone over the age of 21, odds are you won’t go wrong with the gift of alcohol. If you know their tastes, you can pick out a bottle they’re guaranteed to love, but if you don’t, you can keep it simple with a nice bottle of wine or champagne to celebrate the holiday season.
6. A streaming stick. These little devices have become surprisingly affordable, and they make it easy to watch your favorite YouTube videos, view your photos, or play movies through a simple wifi-enabled dongle. You can find Roku and other streaming sticks at any big-box store, as well as online.
7. Food! A last-minute gift of something delicious is always appreciated. You can whip something up in your own kitchen, but for the real emergencies, you can always pick up a classic holiday popcorn tin, an assortment of chocolate truffles, or a pre-assembled edible gift basket at your local grocer.
8. A Kindle. While you can always surprise your last-minute giftee with a new book to add to their coffee table, an e-reader can feel like a substantial gift without bearing the same price tag other expensive tech products have. Pick up the Amazon Fire 7 for as little as $50 at Target!
9. Something cozy. If you’re stuck on a last-minute gift, getting them something warm during winter is never a bad approach. Pick a hat, scarf, or gloves — or go bigger with a fleece blanket to stay warm around the house.
10. A subscription box. Really running late on that gift? You can always surprise your recipient with a trial to a subscription box. This will buy you a bit of time, as the boxes typically ship out on a monthly schedule, giving you no excuse but to present a box with an IOU!
Run into any local store — or spend a couple of minutes online — and you should be able to score a last-minute gift that anyone on your list will appreciate with the help of this list. What’s your go-to last-minute holiday gift? Leave a comment and let me know whether it made the cut!