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Easy last minute Christmas gifts

Updated on May 29, 2016

Christmas arrives quickly, but perhaps you haven’t even started your shopping. Maybe you’ve been busy, or you don’t even like shopping, but you need last minute Christmas gifts for everyone on your list. Here are some easy ideas for all the special people in your life.

A wide-mouth Mason jar filled with chocolate treats is a perfect last-minute Christmas gift for anyone.
A wide-mouth Mason jar filled with chocolate treats is a perfect last-minute Christmas gift for anyone. | Source

Last minute Christmas gifts for anyone

Ever heard the advice to never arrive to a party empty-handed? Saying “thank you” to a host for his or her hospitality has never been easier. Fill a clear jar with candy, screw the lid on, and you’ll have a gift ready in no time. This can also work well for a Secret Santa exchange when you're not sure what to buy.

What you'll need:

  • A Ball brand glass preserving jar, preferably the wide-mouth kind. The photo shows a one quart size. A wide-mouth type is easier to work with than the kind that tapers at the top.
  • One metal band and lid. These will come with the jar if you purchase them in a multi-pack of jars.
  • Candy of your choice. Choosing a variety instead of just one type not only makes it more enjoyable to eat but gives the gift more visual appeal.

    When purchased in a pack of 12, the one quart size jars are about a dollar each. Another great feature of this last-minute Christmas gift is that the packaging - the jar - is reusable. The way the gift is presented requires no further wrapping.

Magazine subscriptions are a last-minute Christmas gift that keeps on giving.
Magazine subscriptions are a last-minute Christmas gift that keeps on giving. | Source

Magazine subscriptions

For people who love to read, a year-long subscription to a favorite magazine is a gift that keeps on giving. For the last minute Christmas gift giver, it’s perfect because gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores offer a wide variety of magazines and are open beyond normal business hours. Pick up one copy of the latest issue, go online to place an order for the entire year’s subscription and you’ll receive a confirmation receipt of your gift. Make a photocopy of this for your records and give the original to your recipient so he or she will know when the first issue will arrive. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Magazine suggestions for last minute Christmas gifts

If your friend likes...
Consider buying...
Celebrity gossip
Good Housekeeping
Better Homes & Gardens
The stock market
Wall Street Journal
Comparing products' value
Consumer Reports
Women's fashion
Marie Claire or Allure
Bite-sized candy is a fun addition to a movie-themed Christmas gift
Bite-sized candy is a fun addition to a movie-themed Christmas gift | Source

Last minute Christmas gifts for families

If you’re visiting a family and you need just one gift for all the members of the household, look no further than a last minute Christmas gift for movie lovers. If you have glass jars (as shown above), you can make one of these into a movie-themed gift. Otherwise, simply buy the supplies for a movie experience.

What You'll Need:

  • A gift card to a movie theatre or video rental store inside.
  • Add a bag of popcorn or a small package of movie theatre candy
  • Candies you may want to try include Junior Mints, Reese Cups, Goobers, Dots, Hot Tamales or Twizzlers
  • If you're using a Ball Preserving Jar for your movie-themed last minute Christmas gift, you can use an individual-sized candy bag if a family-sized package won't fit.
  • If you purchase a movie gift card, be sure to attach a receipt in case your gift recipient has a problem using the gift card.

Last minute Christmas gifts for gardeners

Do you know someone who loves to garden? Three essential components of gardening, according to author and gardener Doug Oster, are tomatoes, garlic and basil. If you need a last minute Christmas gift for a gardener, visit a home improvement store in your area and find out if they have any of these seeds available. Purchase a pack of each, preferably those labeled “non-GMO” or “heirloom”. This means that the seeds can be saved and re-used for the next garden season, long after the harvest has been enjoyed the first year. You'll also need a glass preserving jar, available at any big-box store or at a grocery store. You may also want to purchase gardening gloves.


  • Place the packets of seeds in a clear preserving jar, placing the band and lid on the top.
  • Is there room left in the jar for a pair of gardening gloves?
  • If so, consider buying a pair. If not, your gardener friend already has new seeds for the upcoming gardening season, and a watering can - the clear jar. If your friend knows how to preserve food, the jar can be used to preserve part of the harvest.

Last minute Christmas gifts for children

For the children on your list, a bookstore gift card is a great last minute Christmas gift. Bookstores usually don’t sell just books – there's typically an area for educational toys - so even if a child isn't reading, he or she will enjoy the trip. A bookstore gift card is also a great way to encourage a love of reading in a child that will set a foundation for future success.

Which of these last-minute Christmas ideas will you try?

See results

© 2013 erinshelby


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    • erinshelby profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from United States

      Good luck with your last minute shopping everyone!

    • CrisSp profile image


      6 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Great ideas! Perfect for last minute shoppers like me! Voting up, awesome and sharing!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      I am so tired of gift cards. I want some presents under the tree. The kids would love the candy and I could hide a gift card in it. Then they would give me the jars. Win Win. Great idea.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      I love giving gift cards as last minute gifts. The ability to send via email makes it seem as if it was right on time. Great ideas and I may use the mason jar treats for some of my friends.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Good ideas for all of us who usually have a last-minute gift to take care of during this very busy season. Thank you. :-)

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      6 years ago from SW England

      I like the versatility of the glass jar! It's always good to have some stand-bys that are relatively cheap and easy to assemble in a hurry! Brilliant!

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      6 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi Erin,

      Your opening sentence is what got me - "Christmas is quickly approaching, but perhaps you haven’t even started your shopping." That's me! Hopefully this will be the week. Thanks for the great ideas.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, it's the 15th and I haven't started my shopping yet, so these suggestions will help. Thank you.

    • kidscrafts profile image


      6 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Great suggestions for last minute Christmas gifts, Erin! There are so many different kind of magazines that it's difficult not to find something special for everyone! Thank your for sharing!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      6 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Erin, plenty of good Xmas gift ideas here. Subscription to magazines, especially online ones is a good idea, bottles of candie also, and the movie pack. Thanks for the great advice and suggestions.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      6 years ago

      Great ideas; no doubt some people are going to be caught next week, realizing they forgot someone. It always seems to happen. I like the candy idea-- usually I give cookies and baked goods or home-made soaps and such. The candy would fit right in. Magazines I have to remember-- that is a good idea; the subscriptions are so much more reasonable than the newsstand price, too.


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