Last Minute Gift Ideas for Christmas

The Recessionista’s Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

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With just a few more days until Christmas, it’s time for last minute gift ideas

Are you ready shoppers? This is it, the final Christmas Countdown. I have to admit, I’m a little stressed.  I still have Christmas gifts to buy, so it’s time for some last minute shopping. California is lost in torrential downpours, mudslides and floods.  The east coast is freezing. And poor Europe is also freezing.  London looks more like  New Iceland.  My well organized early gift orders have gone “awry.”   A few gifts arrived early in the mail, but one is too large, and another is already broken. Off into the returns bin they go.  That means I have to go get some new gifts to give…and the last minute. Oh the pain…the thoughts of the mall parking lot, the late night gift wrapping.  I hate it.  If you’re struggling like I am, here are a few last minute gift ideas.

iTunes Gift Card with email delivery. You can’t go wrong with the gift of music. The recipient gets to pick their favorite tunes and you get to pick up a convenient and economical gift from the grocery, the drugstore or even online for sending via email. It’s easy and a great way to avoid last minute shipping snafus.




An American Express Gift Card. This little gold wrapped card give you something nice to put under the tree. You can find them at just about any grocery or drugstore. The nice thing about the Amex card is it is fee free. That means if you paid $50.00 for it, your giftee gets to use $50.00 worth of your gift. There are no service charge fees added in. I recommend American Express for this reason.  I hate going to restaurants and having my gift card declined because I can’t cover the tip, plus the hidden service charge already on the gift card.



A Good Book. The holidays are usually the time I catch up on my reading. It’s the perfect time to escape into a good story or a biography. Right now I’m reading Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie.  I’ve read a lot about Chanel, but this book takes the reader inside the heart and mind of Gabrielle as no other I have read. Until now, I never considered the possibility that the nephew Chanel raised and educated in England may actually have been her own son.  The book is beautifully illustrated with photos, drawings and even Chanel’s original letters.  Through the photos, you see the actual inspirations for many of Chanel’s designs.  The author presents the strengths of Chanel, but also her vulnerabilities. Her disappointments in love were as great as her fashion triumphs. For more book ideas, check the current New York Time bestseller list . You can gift a book and wrap it with a bow or simply gift a book certificate. If you’re willing to pay for expedited shipping, give Amazon a look.  They have everything, including fellow blogger The Frugalista’s new book, The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up the Fabulous Life. I’ve read parts of the book, and Natalie McNeal s honest story of spending and then re-accessing makes me smile.


Make a Spa Stocking with items from the Drugstore for your favorite guy or gal.  Look for the top rated beauty products from Olay, Covergirl and others to fill that stocking. Check my early post on the CEW Award Winners available at Drugstores like CVS. Other popular items include Burt’s Bees lip balm, shaving lotions and moisturizers Always look for coupons for Burt’s Bees to maximize the savings. I also recommend the new Dove Pomegranate and Lemon Verbena I body wash.  I got to sample this product at the BlogHer conference in August and loved it.  The body wash is under $5.00 at Target.  If you’re feeling extra generous, splurge on a spa gift certificate.  Check out Arcona, Burke Williams and more for deals.




White House Black Market’s Accessories are Chic n’Cheap

Accessories: One of the best ways to enliven any outfit is to accessorize with a scarf, pin or jewelry. A few well chosen, chic n’ cheap accessories can renew an outfit, or at this time of year add a holiday touch. Check out J. Crew’s jewelry on sale.   Also take a good look at White House Black Market‘s flower rings and pendants.  Anthropologie has beautiful earrings and hairpins for 20% off of their retail prices. Their styles are similar to Chanel’s classic Camellia flower jewelry but for much less. I also love Jones New York’s colorful wraps for $24.99. The rich colors are amazing from teal, to ruby red, to simple ivory, they are like jewels. For everyday wear, check out Alternative Apparel for some great scarves for men and women Their stuff is ultra comfortable and the prices are extremely affordable. Look for more great accessories at H&M and Ann Taylor Loft.

Charitable Contributions. It’s a great time to make a donation to charity in the name of a loved one. Your gift is also tax deductible.

These are just a few ideas to help jump start your creativity as the Christmas Countdown continues. I’ll be sharing more tips throughout the week. Stay tuned!


Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.

1 Comment

  1. Erica Wark

    December 22, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Great gift ideas!! Thanks for your post!