How to Do Last Minute Christmas Shopping

It’s Christmas Eve and you’ve left the Christmas shopping till now. Whatever the reason for your lack of planning, it’s still possible to come up with last minute gift ideas that match your budget and the tiny amount of time left to shop. Take note of the following suggestions, pack your list and get going!

Think simple. By this stage, elaborate gifts are beyond your capability,and keeping it simple is the name of the game. Perhaps this is why you left things till the last minute anyway, but there’s no need to feel guilty––simple gifts in our recession-prone, environmentally responsible and conscious consumption era make sound sense anyway. If your own ideas aren’t sparking, here are just a few ideas to get you started: For coffee lovers: Buy a package of really good quality Fair Trade coffee, add a package of organic cinnamon sticks and wrap it all together with a beautiful scarf or napkin and a big bow.

For tea lovers: Buy a teacup and saucer from a vintage or secondhand store, stick a package of French (or other quality) tea inside it and add a tea strainer to the side. Wrap all in cellophane with a gorgeous bow to finish.

For music lovers: You could buy a CD of their favorite music or you could make one from your own music. Make a playlist and burn it to a CD, carefully write out the titles and artists and wrap beautifully. Making your own selection can carry great meaning when the songs are ones that reflect shared experiences. Other ideas include purchasing a ticket to a concert they’d love to go to (buy online and prettify the ticket packaging), an iTunes voucher or a book on the history of some aspect of music.

For book lovers: If you’re running out of time, a book voucher purchased in-store or online will suffice but how much nicer to choose at least one book that you think will resonate with the person and slip the voucher inside it. Or, how about going to the secondhand bookstore and choosing a much loved classic with beautiful binding, writing a note that describes how this book made you feel when you first read it, then wrapping it in lovely paper?

For garden lovers: Buy a kitchen herb garden or some fancy containers for indoor plants. A small set of good quality gardening gloves, garden snips and seeds can be easily put together in a little basket, tied together in cellophane. A potted plant always makes a nice gift for someone who enjoys caring for plants.

For gourmet food lovers: Grab the best bottle of olive/walnut/sesame oil you can find on the supermarket shelf, some grissini (Italian bread sticks), a box of decent if not downright luxurious chocolates, a bottle of wine and some fresh packages of spices. Place in a gift box or basket, wrap with cellophane and add a bow.

For video game fans: Grabbing a video game at the last minute is risky unless you’re certain the recipient lacks that title. Instead, purchase a voucher from their favorite game store, and perhaps an accessory such as an extra game controller, a case for storing the games or similar items to round out the gift. If you do buy a game, ask if it can be exchanged; do not buy if it can’t be.

For the jewelery lover: While bling is a bit ostentatious in current times, if you can afford a decent piece of jewelery for someone special, keep it simple. You can rarely go wrong with well crafted gold or silver pieces but if time is of the essence, be careful about making snap choices. An alternative is a voucher to a really quaint boutique jewelery store rather than the franchise, run-of-the-mill ones. And for those unable to afford the real stuff, indulge in gorgeous handcrafted hair accessories, costume jewelery and pretty vintage brooches. A voucher for Etsy never goes astray either.

For the bath/spa lover: Find some fine French soap, a gorgeous bubble bath, a divine scrubbing mitt and some bath salts. Package together inside a pretty container and, if you have the time, throw together a little book of bath recipes on your computer and add the printed version to the package.

For the baking fan: New baking tools will always be appreciated. Look for interesting silicon baking pan shapes, vintage-looking, sturdy mixing bowls, wooden spoons of substance (you can never have too many), pastry brushes, cookie cutters, etc. If you have time, make a collection of your own favorite recipes in eBook or printed form and pass them on.
For the candy lover: This isn’t hard, really! Find candies, chocolates and anything else sweet. There are chocolate Santas, reindeer drops, all the usual candies, etc. to choose from. Or splash out and get a box of hand-selected Belgian or handcrafted chocolates. Wrap exquisitely.

Do your best to avoid the crowds. In the press of people, blaring musicand seemingly emptying shelves of “what’s hot” this Christmas, there can be a temptation to give in to overspending on stuff that may not be what you wanted to give. The brain tends to give in to the pressure of noise and flash displays when in a rush, all in the hope of getting out faster! Seek out quieter locales, such as your local boutique stores or a deserted city center.
Failing this, have a very good plan of attack––know which stores you will go to (and no others), head straight for the right purchase points and do not deviate!

If a store sells nothing but Christmas items, keep out of it. If you haven’t bought Christmas themed items by now, it’s too late anyway and they don’t make good gifts!

Avoid places throwing last-minute sales. It’ll be bedlam.

Consolidate your shopping. This means heading to places such as department stores, garden centers with gift shops, drugstores with great ranges of goodies, warehouses, even the supermarket, etc. If you can get as many gifts in the one place as possible, you maximize the efficiency of your shopping expedition. If you’re really lucky, it’ll be a one-stop shop.

Write a list. Before you leave the office, home or wherever you may be, put at least a half hour’s thought into the Christmas gift list. This will keep you focused, calm and it will ensure that you don’t accidentally miss someone’s gift.
This is a great chance to come up with possible gift ideas, or at least “genres” of gifts that will help you to narrow down where you need to go.

The list will also help you to identify whether it’s possible to head to just one or two stores or whether you need to deftly weave your way between numerous stores all before closing time.

Create a special Christmas card or video. If you have any friends that you live far away, then consider creating a card or video wishing them a Merry Christmas. This can be done very quickly the day before Christmas, sent overnight and be waiting for them when they wake up next morning. (Or, you can blame time zones for any late arrival!)

Donate your time. People can always do with help of one sort of another but many people feel embarrassed or awkward about asking. Think about the sorts of things that your recipient could use help with that you’re able to do, such as a house clean, a garden tidy up, walking their pet for a while, house-sitting while they go away, baking a cake every weekend for a month, etc. Your offer can be made by way of a quickly produced booklet of vouchers (use your computer, print them off and staple together) or simply write your one-off offer into the Christmas card and place the card under the tree as the gift.

Make an offer to attend the post-Christmas sales with your gift recipient and offer to buy them something then. This may seem a little bizarre at first but if both of you like a bargain, enjoy shopping and see the sense in conscious consuming, you can set aside the gift giving for later, enjoy Christmas for its real meaning and look forward to spending time together again during the sales. This is a great gift idea for someone you really enjoy hunting down bargains with!

Write a poem or a short story. If you enjoy writing and the recipient is someone who is special to you, consider this highly personalized gift. Think about all the things that matter about this person, or an event where the two of you learned or shared something together that carries great meaning. Write your impressions and feelings in a poem or short story form as an ode to the recipient and what he or she means in your life. You can wrap it up like a scroll and add a seal, or you can frame it in a frame quickly purchased from the late night drugstore, or you can simply add beautiful fonts and borders before printing and wrap as is.

Keep pet gifts really basic. A small bag of treats is all your pet needs (if anything at all) and some extra grooming time on the day. Your pet doesn’t care if it’s Christmas––it’s enough that you’re about to spend more time with him or her!

Budgeting is essential when shopping for any occasion but even more so when you’re rushing about at the last minute. Do not fall for overspending just because you’re stressed out––hold that list close to you and check it off as you go, without deviating. Avoid those so-called specials!

If you’re good at making something quickly, consider making a few things. Sew up a top, bake some special cookies or dog biscuits, knit a cap, make bath salts, pour gorgeous spices into containers you’ve hand painted, etc.

Avoid dragging children along for last minute Christmas shopping––the stress-o-meter will hit the sky. Find for a babysitter or use one in the shopping center.

Last minute Christmas shopping can lead to overspending. Keep thinking simple and remember what the true purpose of Christmas is about(it’s about the thought, that counts!)

Be prepared for a low-stock of items, since you’re shopping at the last minute.

Things You’ll Need
Wrapping paper (cellophane is a great standby)

Ribbon (try reusing as much as possible)



List (notepad, pen) – keep the pen with you to check off gifts as purchased

Relevant gifts

Gift Tags- These are not that expensive and in a range of varieties- you can purchase them at supermarkets.

Related wikiHows
How to Avoid Last Minute Christmas Shopping

How to Do Last Minute Gift Wrapping

How to Start Your Christmas Shopping Early

How to Choose Green Gifts for Christmas

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