It’s less than a week to Christmas. Stressing much? If you like to shop in a real store, prepare your body armor. If you want to shop online, make sure you upgrade shipping to get your gifts in time (and even then, there’s no guarantee). Last minute Christmas gifts don’t have to be a disappointment.
So, time’s running out, and you need to get creative. Before you run to the nearest drugstore, let’s think about this. There are plenty of gifts you can still do last minute without breaking the bank or chasing down the UPS truck. Here are a few ideas to get you jump-started:
Skincare: We often make skincare gifts and include lip balm, lotion, soaps, and sugar scrubs. These are all easy to make at home, and the ingredients are not terribly expensive when you divide the cost among several gifts. Mountain Rose Herbs is one my favorites places to order supplies, including oils, beeswax, and containers. I use essential oils to scent many of our gifts. I like Young Living the best because they are therapeutic grade. I won’t try to explain what that means in this short post, but it’s the best quality. I prefer that for anything that goes on my skin and my face, especially. If you’re interested in ordering Young Living essential oils, I am happy to help you. Contact me directly.
Here are some of my favorite personal care recipes that I shared over on StepYourWayToHealth.com:
Food: Christmas is synonymous with good food. The great thing about baking and making candy, is you can typically knock out several gifts at one time. Cookies, fudge, trailmix, etc. all mixed together will fill three or four bags. Homemade food always makes popular last minute Christmas gifts.
My most popular gift that I make is a Linzer cookie knock-off. In other words, I use a regular sugar cookie recipe for the cookie part and a store-bought raspberry jam for the filling. It’s really good and much easier than the traditional Linzer cookie. Using your favorite sugar cookie recipe, use a round cookie cutter for the top and bottom. In the top cookie, use a small Christmas tree cookie-cutter in the middle. Sprinkle the top cookie with powdered sugar. Barely heat the raspberry jam for the filling to make it spread easier on the bottom cookie and top with the tree cutout cookie. I keep the cut-out Christmas trees and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Toffee is also a winner. I use this recipe from MarilynMoll.com. Two tips for toffee: use name brand butter and never EVER stop stirring. It’s a solid 30-minute process, but then you’re done and have a large pan of toffee that makes several yummy gifts.
Gift Baskets/Bags: No one has to know that gift baskets are last minute Christmas gifts made with odds and ends. A little bit of this and a sample of that turns an empty basket or bag into a treasure chest. Make it a theme with teas and a cup or hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows and homemade chocolate mix or s’mores with graham crackers, a couple of chocolate bars and marshmallows, or a spice basket with various herbs and spices for cooking. Anything goes! One year, I nailed the Pinterest idea for a gift basket with mini-bottles of liquer, a chocolate Santa, and a brick, I mean a loaf of fruitcake. It was perfect for an office party gift exchange.
Spa Day: If you have a diva on your list (or five, in my case), a spa day is a great way to treat her. Of course, the real spas are very expensive, but you can transform a bathroom into a spa for an hour or two for a lot less. It just involves some bubble bath, a diffuser with lavender essential oil, a face mask, and a mani-pedi. Voila! Spa-on-the-cheap.
Movie Night: I’m not sure what happened to dollar movies, but yowza movies are expensive these days. We rarely go to see a movie at the theatre anymore. It doesn’t help that there is rarely anything worth seeing. But we enjoy movie nights at home. We have a collection of family friendly favorites, or we rent from Netflix. We pop popcorn, make ourselves comfy on the couches and the floor, and enjoy a good comedy, like The Apple Dumpling Gang, or a Christmas favorite, like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or a chic flick, like The Sound of Music. I mean, we’re pretty easy to please, and we’re hanging out together. Family time. That’s the real gift.
Destination Gifts: For the gift that keeps on giving in anticipation, a destination tops the list of last minute Christmas gifts. For a big family, the entry fee to many places is expensive, or at least more than we would normally spend on a day excursion. However, if we use it as a gift, then we know we have a gift well spent. Museums are one of our favorite ways to spend an afternoon. In some cities, you can purchase a museum pass that allows you discounted tickets to a number of museums. This is a great option if you’re within a reasonable distance of the museums offered. Also, many museums have discounted or free admission afternoons every so often. Check websites or call their information office to find out. The destination gift certificate can be purchased online minutes before you actually have to give it.
Zoos and aquariums are another favorite. How many different types of animals can you see without ever leaving your state?? Like museums, zoos offer memberships that allow for a number of discounted visits per year and many are part of a larger group of zoos where your membership is honored.
Don’t overlook hiking, camping, plays, concerts, even local touristy things that you’ve never done.
Give in their name: For the person who has everything and doesn’t need a new scarf or tie or knick-knack, why not honor them with a gift to someone who has real needs? Check out local charities that do the hands-on work, like soup kitchens and food pantries, or larger ministries that can respond to natural disasters. I have a close friend who works with Somebody Cares, a great organization that puts donations to good use helping victims in the midst of tragedy and beyond. Another favorite charity is Ride to Give, started by Ironman Dave Nazaroff and his wife, Kaete. Ride to Give raises money for the families of sick children in need: gas money, co-pays, special equipment not covered by insurance, meals and housing when away from home for weeks at a time. Dave and other volunteers compete in marathons and triathlons across the country to help raise funds. Besides making thoughtful last minute Christmas gifts, donating to charities pays the gift forward for the people receiving the money.
Time is getting short, now. If you’re in a bind, break out of the box and plan something fun and practical. I’d really love to hear what everyone is doing for last minute Christmas gifts. Leave comments to give us more ideas!