The season of giving is here. Our aim this year, and every holiday, is to find the perfect gift for each and every person on our lists, even when it’s at the last minute. But let’s be honest: it’s hard enough to figure out what’s worth keeping and truly sparks joy in our own homes. And when it comes to selecting that magical gift for someone else, the holiday season can be an especially challenging time.
What’s important, though, is that we try to be as thoughtful as possible when selecting “things” while buying for our family and friends. Some on our lists may be downsizing, live in tight quarters, or simply don’t have the space (or courage) to display that hot pink flamingo lamp you just know they would love.
Thankfully, there are ways to think outside of the Prime box for gift ideas for everyone on your list this year. Here are our best last minute (and clutter-free) gift ideas that won’t collect copious amounts of dust or end up in the donation bin come New Year’s Day.
Experience Gifts Are The Best
The holidays truly are a great time to give someone an experience that can be enjoyed on their own schedule or for an evening spent with friends, such as tickets to a concert, movie series or sporting event. These gifts will create memories, and could offer the recipient a new skill. The best part? Many can be sent digitally at the very last minute. Check out these suggestions as you wrap up your holiday shopping.
If you have a Sur La Table near you and you’ve attended a cooking class, then you know it was a special treat. After all, even the best cooks need a little inspiration from time to time. Sur La Table is now offering online cooking classes. For the cook on your list, a virtual cooking class in the comfort of their home is a great way to show you know them. And it’s the gift that keeps on giving with a meal that can be made time and again. Cost: Classes Begin at $29
We all know nature can be the best medicine for old and young alike. And for the outdoor enthusiast, a U.S. National Parks membership can be the perfect reason for dedicating more time to seeing the great American outdoors in 2023. Help your loved ones take a hike they won’t soon forget this holiday season with the adventures awaiting them in our country’s parks. Cost: Annual Pass is $80
For the learning enthusiast on your list, MasterClass Membership offers the ultimate world of possibilities and learning. The video lessons inspire, nurture a love of a hobby, or immerse you in learning a new skill. One membership unlocks 2500+ lessons from all classes and sessions. Give the gift of a learning journey this year. Cost: Beginning at $15/month
Sentimental Gifts for the Win
You know the ones who want all the pictures and enjoy reflecting on the moments. Photo art is a great way to nurture their nostalgia throughout the year and even longer. Pro tip: Many national drugstore chains (including Walgreens) offer same-day photo gifts if you are down to the wire with your shopping.
Giving a custom calendar with all the birthdays and holidays already marked is a gift your loved ones will appreciate and enjoy throughout the year. It’s as easy as importing your pictures from your phone and uploading them into a template. We like this one from Walmart for user friendliness and ease of printing. Shopping at the very last minute? Pick up a wall calendar and then carefully hand write in birthdays and anniversaries for a personal touch they will appreciate for the next 12 months. Cost: Starting at $12.96
You have memories you’ve made throughout the year with your favorite people, and a custom printed photo canvas is a great way to show a friend or family member how much you treasure their friendship. Just choose your favorite photo, upload, and turn it into a high-quality masterpiece. The good thing here is that no matter how big or small your recipient’s home, wall space is typically always available to display special photos or art. Professional photographers recommend (to us amateurs) Mpix. Cost: Starting at $59.99
Eat, Drink & Give Consumables
Functional, fabulous and always appreciated, consumable gifts such as lotions, soaps, bath bombs, candles, wine and food items never disappoint. And giving a practical gift that your loved one is sure to use is a great way to show you care. Handmade hand salve from a farmer’s market or a lightly scented candle from your favorite local shop? It’s hard to go wrong with these choices. Here are a few we love.
Get ready to give a snacking adventure. With interesting snacks from countries all over the world, this gift is sure to take the recipient on a snacking adventure. Each month offers new choices.‘Tis the season to indulge in delicious snacks. Cost: Beginning at $9.99/month
With all natural soaps, bath bombs, epsom salts, and even laundry soap, the holidays have never smelled as good as Buff City Soaps. Besides, it’s a safe bet that everyone on your list uses soap. With fun names like “Goodmorning Sunshine” and “Fericious Beast,” it’s easy to find a soap or bath bomb for everyone on your list. All soaps are handmade and sourced from plants with no chemical additives or animal fats. If you’re shipping to friends and family afar this year, don’t forget to choose the gift message option with your holiday order. Cost: Starting at $5.00
With scents including Fresh, Citrus, Floral and Warm/Spice, these candles are pungent without being overpowering. With multiple sizes to choose from, their bestseller is Frazier Fir Pine Needle Candle (and our personal favorite). While you’re shopping for loved ones, you may also want to snag one for yourself. Cost: Candles Beginning at $34
Give Simplicity And Ease
We are so thankful for the givers and helpers that make our lives easier. And for those who understand that certain gifts can actually help make our lives easier, we’re especially thankful. From grocery delivery to meal prep to laundry services, there are many companies that aim to help with the monotonous day to day tasks that have to get done. That’s why these services make the best gifts for others (and for ourselves!).
Meal prep and execution can be one of the hardest things to think about for ourselves and our families at the end of a long work day. Giving a meal prep delivery service, though, can be helpful and take the guesswork out of daily decision-making. There are tons of meal kit delivery options out there, and we have the rundown on how to get the best deals on meal kits here. Plus, most offer options for those with dietary restrictions and options to pick your favorite foods. Cost: Beginning at $8.99 per serving
Sending cash in the mail isn’t safe, but you would like for your loved one to be able to choose their own gift. An e-gift card is the perfect way to send a gift card to someone instantly. It’s delivered right to their inbox. This site offers a way to send a card with multiple options for dining, travel, beauty, and even gaming (for all the nieces and nephews on your list). They even offer multi-store gift card options. Cost: Beginning at $10
It’s so convenient when something is delivered to our door. So why not give someone the gift of delivery? With delivery.com your recipient can order online from their favorite local restaurants, liquor stores, supermarkets, florists, laundry and dry cleaning providers. Then, the product or service is delivered to them. What could be better than that?
Remember the Best Gift Of All (Your Time)
There is no greater present than the gift of your time. This year, consider the gift of your quality time spent with loved ones over brunch at a local dive, or at your favorite coffee shop. You could also set aside time to take a walk with a friend you don’t often get to see. It might just end up being the most soul-nurturing gift of all for you and your loved one. Cost: Free!
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