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The best last-minute gifts
for everyone on your list

By Aline Martins
November 20, 2022
Best last-minute gifts

Picture this: There are just a few weeks until Christmas, and you’ve still got a handful of people to get gifts for. You may have been too busy baking Thanksgiving pies or working overtime to get your bills paid by the end of the year. One way or another, you find yourself scrambling. You turn to the internet in search of the perfect gift idea, but there are simply too many to choose from. That’s where we come in.

The perfect last-minute gift is easy to find, easy to buy, and gets to you on time for the holidays. Ideally, it also feels thoughtful and unique to the person you’re shopping for. How do you find a great last-minute gift? Start with gift ideas that are easy to get but feel thoughtful. Think about your giftee’s hobbies, the things they like to do, or the types of products they actually use every day. Then, either head out to a store or shop online to get that last-minute gift in time for the holidays. Remember, different ecommerce stores have varied shipping cut-offs, so make sure to take those into consideration.

Our Last-Minute Gift Ideas

It’s time to start brainstorming. We know you might be short on time, so we put together an easy-to-scan list of gift ideas to help you get started. Here are some of our suggestions for thoughtful and unique last-minute gifts:

For trend setters: Birkenstock clogs

This is the “it” shoe of the moment. If you’re shopping for someone who reads fashion magazines, follows style influencers, or simply loves shoes, she’ll love to find the Boston clogs under the Christmas tree. They are so popular right now that Vogue and the New York Times have written about the shoes, calling them a “rare commodity.” Not only are they trendy, they are also comfortable and versatile. They’re comfy enough to wear around the house and stylish enough to wear around town, so whoever you gift these to will wear them all the time. Plus, Birkenstocks are made to last, meaning your giftee will get several years of wear out of them. Luckily, we’ve found a place where the Birkenstock Boston clogs are in stock.

For fashion lovers: A great watch (Shinola is a good, relatively affordable brand with both men’s and women’s watches)

Often, fashion lovers are particular about the articles of clothing in their wardrobes or the shoes they collect. So, if you don’t know a specific item of clothing your giftee has been eyeing, try to stick with accessories. A watch is usually a great option. Watches are timeless, classy, last a long time, and can become a treasured piece of any fashion lover’s wardrobe. If you can afford a Rolex, we bet your giftee would love that. If not, Shinola, Seiko, Casio, or Timex offer great, affordable options.

For home chefs: A fun cookbook and a good pan or knife (Ina Garten Cookbook & All-Clad Pan or Miyabi chef’s knife)

A trendy new cookbook shows you’ve done your research and found a book your favorite home chef probably doesn’t have yet. Make sure to choose a book that focuses on recipes that fit your giftee’s lifestyle. If she’s a busy mom, for example, choose a book with quick, simple recipes. If your giftee loves to host elaborate dinner parties, pick something a bit more involved. Then, to elevate the gift, add in a great pan. This creates a full gift package – a thoughtful cookbook with new recipes to try, and a great tool to help your favorite home chef actually try the recipes.

For those who love luxury: A perfume or cologne subscription

Usually, people who love the finer things in life tend to also love luxurious scents. A good perfume or cologne can help anyone feel fancy. The issue with buying a bottle of perfume, however, is that if you don’t know the specific scents your giftee likes, it can be nearly impossible to pick something they will actually use. A perfume or cologne subscription, though, allows your giftee to explore different options and maybe even discover something new.

For a Host or Hostess: Cheese board and knives

Social media propelled the popularity of cheeseboards in recent years. If you’re shopping for someone who loves to host dinner parties or family gatherings, chances are high that they have either tried to make a cheeseboard or have thought about it. A gorgeous wooden board and nice cheese knives elevate the look of any cheeseboard from amateur to professional.

For someone who is always busy: A bath tray

You might be shopping for a busy mom, someone who puts in overtime at the office, or just someone who has a hard time making time for self-care. A nice bath tray can be a reminder to slow down and take some time for themselves. It elevates a regular bath to a spa experience.

For bookworms: A kindle paperwhite and/or a Book Knook

Buying a book for a bookworm seems like a good idea in theory, but double checking, you might buy a book they’ve already read or are currently reading. So, your best bet is to get a book accessory, or e-reader of some kind, to elevate your favorite bookworm’s reading time.

For the sentimental: Homemade candle or a locket with a thoughtful picture

Sentimental people usually love handmade gifts because they show you put thought and effort into creating something special. Candles are relatively easy to make at home. You can make candles out of just about anything that could hold liquid – jars, seashells, teacups. Just procure wax, a wick, and follow these instructions. If you don’t want to craft something yourself, you could also give someone a locket with a thoughtful picture – try a picture of the two of you together, a cherished family member, or a pet.

For artists: A gift card (or Giftly) for a pottery or painting class

If you are shopping for an artsy person, you could try to get them a beginners kit for some sort of craft they haven’t tried yet – like watercoloring, macrame, or cross-stitch. Alternatively, you can gift them a learning experience. Artists generally love to hone their crafts, so a class can be a perfect gift.

For photographers: Leica D-Lux Camera, leather camera bag, and/or a gift card for a photography class

Know someone who takes pictures of anything? A great point-and-shoot camera like the Leica D-Lux is perfect for both beginners and advanced photographers because it’s easy to use and takes great quality pictures. If you’re shopping for someone who already has plenty of cameras and lenses, they would love something to carry their gear in like a nice leather camera bag. If all else fails, get your favorite photographer a class to elevate their skills – there are beginner classes for those just starting out and advanced classes for your more seasoned photographers.

For fitness lovers: AI home workout system (Mirror or Peloton Guide), a fitness subscription, or a class gift card

Whether you’re shopping for someone who always makes time for a workout or who might just want to start exercising a bit more (New Year’s resolution season is around the corner), you can’t go wrong with a home workout system. There are so many high tech solutions to create a compact home gym, but we recommend something like the Mirror or Peloton Guide, which offer total strength training experiences. Fitness tech can be a splurge though, so you could also give your favorite fitness lover a gift card to a new class or a class subscription like Alo Moves Yoga to try something new.

For foodies: Brightland olive oil set, or seasoning gift pack

When it comes to foodies, choose an elevated version of something they use every day – like nice olive oil or seasonings. To help them discover something new, give them a gift set with a variety of flavors. What foodie doesn’t love a good taste test?

For pet lovers: Pet portrait

People who hold their pets close to their hearts often love to get gifts that are related to their pets in some way. A personalized pet portrait is a thoughtful gift idea for any pet lover. You can commission one from a service like Crown and Paw, or just ask an artistic friend to draw one for you.

For homebodies: A great throw blanket

If there’s one thing a homebody loves, it's a cozy night in. A nice throw blanket instantly gives any homebody a reason to cuddle up on the couch with a good book or movie.

For coffee lovers: Stylish electric kettle

If you know someone who loves to experiment with their own coffee at home, they probably already have plenty of coffee gadgets and supplies. One coffee-making tool that is often overlooked though is the kettle. A nice gooseneck kettle is both functional and beautiful, making it easy to brew a pourover at the perfect temperature every time.

Outdoor Adventurers: Anything from the Popular Mechanics guide

Outdoor gear can be tricky to buy, so if you’re shopping for a real outdoor gear enthusiast, turn to the pros at Popular Mechanics or Outdoor Magazine. If you’re shopping for someone who spends time outdoors cycling, running, or climbing, and who isn’t looking for a specific type of gear, there are some more general, thoughtful last-minute gifts you can give them.

Grill Masters: A kamado grill or a grilling tool set

If you ask most people who love to grill what gift they dream about, it might be the big green egg kamado grill. You can grill on it, make pizzas, smoke meats … it really does it all. Kamado grills can be pricey, though. So, for the more budget-conscious, a nice grilling tool set is also a great bet.

For the avid traveler: Travel watch roll, charger organizer, or a trip

Most avid travelers already have luggage they love, so stick with a gift they wouldn’t think to get themselves. A nice, unique travel organizer like a watch roll or a charger roll up makes a great last-minute gift or stocking stuffer. If you’re going all out on a gift for an avid traveler, though, your best bet is to gift them an experience. You could book a hotel, a flight, an airbnb, or even a local wine tasting to capture any travel lover’s adventurous spirit.

Don’t forget a card

Now that you’ve found the perfect last-minute gift, you might be wondering how to package it up so it feels special. A card can instantly make a gift feel personal. Here are some tips for writing the perfect card:

  1. Make sure the greeting feels joyful from the start. The holidays are a great time to reflect and craft messages of positivity.
  2. Mention a reason or two why you got them that specific gift. Something like “This gift made me think of you because …”
  3. Add in something about your relationship with the person you are giving the gift to. “I value our friendship,” or “Thank you for being such a great teacher.”
  4. Make sure the message feels personal. Maybe include an inside joke or a good memory you have with the person.
  5. Sign off. Always include your name at the end of the card, so your giftee knows who it’s from.

And if it’s truly the last minute…

In our opinion a gift from Giftly is the ultimate last-minute gift, because you can send money for just about anything by email, text message or printout, and include a personalized message.

Click here to search or browse for any U.S. business or create a “Universal” gift and greeting card on our customizer.

Now, good luck finding the perfect last-minute for everyone on your list and have a great holiday!