Top Holiday Picks for You, the Last Minute Shopper

Top Holiday Picks for You, the Last Minute Shopper

I don’t intentionally buy at the last minute. I’m quite proud to say that I bought presents on Christmas Eve only ONCE and this year I finished on December 20 (not by choice mind you, we’re going out of town and I had to get done “early”)! But, I’m a procrastinator by nature. It’s where I shine! I can spend days looking at presents for people, but when you have that last minute shopping adrenaline coursing through your system, the perfect presents just seem to pop up. So here are some tried and true ideas to make last minute shopping just a little less stressful!

When in doubt, give prepackaged goodies out!

My favorite go-to “assortment” presents come from Harry and David! And not just because they have Moose Munch (popcorn and nuts covered in yummy chocolate and other stuff), but because they also have fruit assortments, baking and cooking goods and even smoked salmon! I love their All-Occasion Tower of Treats because there’s a little bit for everyone!

Make your own __________!

For the older girls on my list this year, I got a bunch of make your own chocolate/crafts/etc. kits. My favorite one was the Spa Kit where you got to make your own bath products. The girl I gave this to was equally excited about it!

Video Games

Also on my last minute list is video games. Almost every older kid I know has either a Nintendo DSi, Leapster or PSP. Luckily, video games aren’t as un-educational as they used to be in years past. Check with the parents though to make sure they don’t mind you buying a game for their child (and to make sure they don’t have it yet!).

For the ‘no Video Games’ households

Why not do a few grab bags? Fill gift bags up with lots of little goodies, from gloves and umbrellas (I only mention umbrellas because the past few days in SoCal have been SO rainy!) to activity books and music! Here’s a helpful hint; explore your local $.99 store…it’s amazing what you can find there!

For Families

Pick out a couple of your favorite movies and create a movie pack! Load a gift bag with popcorn, chocolates, nacho cheese and chips; enough for the whole family! My personal favorite movie right now is UP!

For Mom

I’m not a mom who likes spa days, but I do like a break every once in awhile…so, husbands: get that spa package. Don’t skimp either. Try  The SpaFinder gift certificates are good at 5,000 spas around the globe and you can buy and print/email the gift certificate instantly!  This is a real last minute idea!  And for those gals who don’t like spas, get a certificate to get her hair done at a salon (maybe a cut and color)! We all are so busy that we forget to pamper ourselves.


For Dad

Many years of experience have taught me one thing: unless you know exactly what electronic device your husband/boyfriend wants, including the make, model and size, DON’T BUY IT! The safer bet is to get something sports or hobby related…even if you get the wrong thing or something he already has, they can and will use it. My husband’s hat collection is a testimony to that. Every year, I have to get him another hat. Why he can’t wash the one he already has, I’ll never know. Speaking of hats, if you’re going to get his favorite sports team hat, make sure you know their hat size!

For Grandparents

Photo collage! Or get a digital frame and pre-load it with photos of the family!

For Babies

Babies are so easy to shop for! Here are some quick picks for any stage:

0-4 months: Skip Hop Animal Ball Trio: I love how soft and cuddly these things are…and the chimes aren’t annoying!

4-8 months: Learn and Groove Table: Set this on the floor so baby can start playing with it, then later add the legs to help them learn to play while standing! It also can switch back and forth between English and Spanish.

8-12 months: Activity Walker: Gosh, there’s a lot of versions of walkers out there. Some can transform from a ride on toy to a walker, while others have an activity console on the front and can attach to the walker.

For those on a budget

Create gift bags filled with baked goods, such as sugar cookies you’ve decorated or chocolate dipped pretzels. Get the premade cookie dough in the refrigerated section, some icing and holiday colored sprinkles! For the pretzels, make sure you use the thicker pretzels!

For the totally last minute people…

I don’t know about you, but have you noticed that there are HUGE displays filled with every type of gift card imaginable at your local grocery store/pharmacy? If you have no time to run to a mall and brave the crowds (ahem, this is for you, Christmas Eve shoppers), grab some gift cards, head over to the card aisle and choose a few holiday cards. The gift card says, “Yes, I bought you something!”, while the holiday card says, “They were thoughtful enough to put it in a card and write a greeting!”


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Ann Craig, Editor Ann is a first-time mom in Southern California who loves buying "usefully cute" items for her son (Okay, she just likes having the excuse to satisfy her shopaholic nature). It would be even better if he also found them useful, then maybe she could get away with more items! But alas, he's happier chasing after her phone or his daddy's sneakers. When Ann's not busy playing keep-away with her son, she enjoys strolls around Disneyland, bargain-hunting and talking about all things baby! (Luckily for her, there are at least 9 people at her job who just had or who are having a baby so there's always someone to talk to. Something's in the water!!)


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