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Last minute gift ideas (no shipping required!)

All through November and December, things seem hopeful. There will be time to do it all. There will be time to order that gift in from the US, to custom design that special item.  You’ll start shopping early, you’ll spend Saturdays at the mall, and you will have it all done by the first of December.

Or, you’ll get too busy like last year and suddenly you won’t be able to imagine getting it all done.  How will you find just the right gift if you can’t live at the mall for a month?  What to do when every website advises that you are past the cut off for shipping for Christmas?  It’s time to find a memorable gift that doesn’t have to brave the wilds of Canada Post in the latter half of December.

Here are a few ideas for anyone still left on your list the week before Christmas:

  • Pick up a gift card or gift certificate to their favourite store – not the store where you do all your shopping or where it would be practical. A store where they love to linger, and where they love to indulge themselves.
  • Purchase tickets to an event like a concert, a sporting event, the theatre, the ballet. Think of what they really love, not what you would enjoy and then buy two tickets anyway.  Attach the tickets to an item like the band’s latest CD, a piece of sports team memorabilia, or something similar for them to keep as a memento.
  • Plan a special outing or event for a free day or night close to Christmas – you might be shopping late, but if you set something up as an early present, no one will be the wiser.  Set up a special wine tasting, attend a chef’s dinner, take a tour of your city with a focus on something they love – chocolate, architecture, use your imagination.
  • Treat someone deserving to a spa day by picking up the phone and arranging an escape.
  • Plan a weekend away for the two of you – a romantic weekend at a cabin, an overnight stay at a swanky hotel, an escape to a nearby bed and breakfast might be all you need to reconnect and are easily arranged by phone.
  • If you have someone on your list who commits their time and energy to a cause during the year, consider a donation or tangible contribution in their name. Can you donate money, collect food donations, or drop off toys to their favourite organization?
  • Order them a magazine subscription – show them you notice their passions, their hobbies, and interests and buy an annual subscription to a favourite or niche publication.  Attach a note to the current issue.
  • Give them a bottle of wine from their favourite winery, or champagne, high end spirits, Bailey’s – something that is specific to the recipient or your history together.
  • Treat them to lessons, a cooking class, buy them a program to learn a language – something that will become a bigger gift than the day it is opened and shows your support of their passions.
  • Think of their favourite place to visit, tour, etc and call to see if you can score a backstage pass, a private tour, a meeting with someone of note.  Think of any place that fits their interests and find out if there is a special location, a headquarters, factory, or anything similar nearby.
  • Give them a coupon promising ten visits to new and interesting places in the next year, or ten dinners out at new restaurants, ten shows, you get the idea.  Sometimes the promise of a change in routine and new favourites can be a perfect gift.
  • Share with them something you have and might take for granted – a weekend at your cabin or ski condo, use of your camper for their summer holiday, your talent as a photographer, your nifty scrapbooking skills (seriously, someone come make me some pretty baby books, please.)  What could you do for someone that they can’t do for themselves?  Your talent and care could turn a gift into something very special and memorable.
  • Create something for them that celebrates an important milestone, a talent of theirs, or something notable from their past that isn’t often mentioned.  Think shadow boxes, framing an award or important document, etc.
  • Print and frame the sheet music to one of their favourite songs – especially a weighty one like a wedding song, a favourite song shared at an important moment, or a song from their childhood.

Many of the best gifts aren’t found at the mall.  They’re found by paying close attention to the person who is receiving the gift, showing them you notice them, and that what they care about really matters. Find a way to express that, and you’ve got a winning gift idea.

Writer, editor, recovering chocoholic. Most often found writing, drinking coffee, and chasing kids. Find her on Twitter @littlemissmocha.

2 Responses to “Last minute gift ideas (no shipping required!)”


What about searching on Used Everywhere for interesting Christmas gifts that require no shipping?


    Jen Taylor

    Well, of course we love that idea! Thanks for your comment. Happy holidays to you!

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