Last-Minute Holiday Gifts That Don’t Seem Desperate

Usually, when someone gives me a gift card or money, I feel like they couldn’t think of anything better or ran out of time to find a more personal gift. But last-minute presents don’t having to be as generic as $25 to Best Buy. After the jump, read our ideas for what to get when you’re out of time…


  • A DAY
    Go to your local CVS and make a photo book (from $6.99) that will be ready the same day you visit the store. Your recipient will appreciate this nicer version of a scrapbook because photographs (and memories) tend to get lost in the abyss of computer hard drives. So you’re not spending hours sorting through thousands of photos from 2008, pick a theme (Christmas through the years) or an event (Grandma’s 60th birthday party) and center the photo book around that.
    Stop by the grocery store and pick up ingredients for homemade granola. Katie Lee Joel’s recipe is delicious and only needs to bake for about 30 minutes. Once it’s cooled a bit, put your yummy creation in a cute jar or tin with a note that says it’s fresh from your oven. You’ll look awfully thoughtful.
    If someone in your life just got a new iPhone, spend some time researching apps they might like but don’t know about. After you’ve found 10 or so, buy them an iTunes gift card, either online or at a drugstore, so they can fill their new gadget up with fun games and helpful tools.
  • 30 MINUTES
    Sign them up for a Netflix account (from $4.99/month) and add movies to their queue. It’s not quite as impersonal as a gift certificate if you’ve taken the time to remember what movies they had wanted to see but missed in theaters, or if you recommend obscure movies that mesh with their taste.
  • 15 MINUTES
    Did your best friend just buy a house? Get her a $10 subscription to Domino. Does your dad like skiing and going on adventure vacations? Get him Men’s Journal for a year for $9.97. Since they won’t get an issue delivered for about a month, stop by a bookstore and buy the current issue so you something to put under the tree.