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Ten last-minute gift ideas for family and friends

Updated on April 1, 2013

Relieve stress: buy last-minute gifts online

Trying to find last-minute gifts for family and friends can be stressful. This is particularly true at Christmas time, when so much else needs to be done and shops are crowded with other desperate gift hunters. Birthday gifts and anniversary gifts can also cause problems, all the more if that important date has been forgotten temporarily. Online shopping can take the stress away and can be done any time of day or night, thus fitting into the busiest of schedules.I've scoured the virtual shelves and selected ten gift suggestions, covering a wide range of prices, that should please grown-up relatives and friends of either sex.

The ten suggestions are listed below. Click on the link to go directly to any one of them, or scroll through the whole hub to view all of them.

If you like my suggestions, but prefer to buy from the UK, please visit the Ten Last Minute Gift Ideas section in WriteAngled's Store. I have included the same items where available, or have found near equivalents.

1. Gift basket of edible goodies

A basket full of good things to eat is always popular. Of course, it is possible to make up a basket at home, and tailor it as closely as possible to the tastes of the recipients. However, when time is limited or inspiration fails to come, a pre-made basket is the ideal solution.

The Sweet and Savory Gift Basket of tasty snacks aims to please everyone. Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy the cashew roca, traditional butter cookies and peppermint crunch popcorn clusters. For the more savory-minded, it includes a savory snack mix by Tavolare, Brie-flavored cheese with toasted sesame crackers, smoked almonds and Bavarian style dill pretzels.

However, if you want to please someone who is more health-conscious, you should consider the Pacific Coast Classic Dried Fruit Sampler. Plump whole dried apricots, pears, peaches, prunes and dates are complemented by roasted almonds and pistachio nuts.

2. Digital photo frame

This is a gift which you can make very personal by pre-loading the frame with photographs that have meaning for you and the recipient.

You can decide on a larger frame, for display at home, or a small wallet-style one that can be carried around in a bag or pocket.

The revolutionary, energy-saving NIX 8" Hu-Motion Digital Picture Frame turns itself on when it senses human motion, and off when has sensed no motion for a user-specified length of time. A rechargeable battery provides portability, lasting for approximately 4 hours, or the frame can be run off mains electricity. With its 2 Gb memory, the NIX can store thousands of pictures. It can play mp3 files and slideshows can be programmed to appear with selected music playing. It is also able to show videos, and it includes a useful calendar and clock display that can be set to appear alongside a few pictures.

The Micca frame is only slightly larger than a credit card, and a mere 1/2 inch thick. It has a bright 2.4 inch LCD screen, slide-show facility and clock/calendar with alarm clock function at an amazingly low price. It can store 60 photographs and the rechargeable battery offers 8 hours of viewing before needing to be charged from a USB port. It comes in a protective wallet and can be taken anywhere.

3. Moleskine notebook

A Moleskine notebook is the perfect gift for anyone who likes to jot down thoughts, ideas or sketches. This is a product with history and it has achieved a large cult following. This is because very similar notebooks have been associated with authors, artists, thinkers and travellers for the last two centuries. Users of such notebooks have included Vincent Van Gogh, Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Wilde and Pablo Picasso. Unleash your recipient's creativity with a classic pocket notebook from Moleskine.

4. Flip UltraHD Video Camera

 For that extra-special gift, the Flip UltraHD fits into the palm of the hand and is proclaimed to be the world's simplest HD camcorder. The super-simple user interface includes a BIG red button that is pressed to start filming up to 2 hours of HD video at a time without needing any additional memory. Image stabilization technology ensures a clear and steady result.

Preloaded software to:

  • Organize videos into folders
  • Capture still images from the videos
  • Edit videos and add music to them
  • Create video greeting cards
  • Share videos by email or upload them directly to Youtube, Twitter or Facebook

5. Personal Glass Tea Infuser and Mug

Lovers of tea will also love this clear glass, dishwasher-safe infuser and mug. While it can also be used with tea bags, the real joy comes in using loose tea and watching the leaves "dance" as they infuse. Why not pair it with a classic loose tea, such as a rich, strong Assam made from rare teas from the Brahmaputra Valley in northeast India. Taylors of Harrogate in England blend this tea and pack it into an elegant tin. If you wish, you can take out a subscription service to have this tea delivered to your recipient at regular intervals as decided by you.

6. Moka Express Espresso Coffee Maker

 A retro Moka Express makes a wonderful gift for a coffee enthusiast. This  exceptionally simple to use stove-top coffee maker makes three cups of excellent espresso coffee (other sizes are also available). Moka Express coffee makers work on any type of stove and also (in my personal experience) when balanced over a real wood campfire! Ensure an authentic Italian flavor by pairing it with Illy coffee, which is specially ground to the best particle size for Moka Express. If you wish, you can take out a subscription service to have this coffee delivered to your recipient at regular intervals as decided by you.

7. Ten-Port USB Hub

An ever increasing number of gadgets are appearing, which are powered from a USB port. Laptop users in particular may be frustrated by the limited number of ports they have available. This 10-port USB hub provides an elegant solution. It measures only 6x1x3 inches.Only two of the sides are used for the ports, to minimize cable clutter. Two of the ports swivel out vertically to make insertion of devices easier. As an extra bonus, it comes with a 2.5A power adaptor.

8. Blokus Classics Game

A mind-bending strategy game that will be a fun gift for all the family since it can be played by anyone aged from 5 years upwards. Like many classic games, Blokus is simple to understand, but can involve much complexity to play. An average game lasts about 30 minutes and can be played by 2, 3 or 4 players. This game stimulates spatial thinking and promotes healthy brain activity. It has won over 20 awards and numerous fans worldwide.

9. Omron HJ-720ITC Pocket Pedometer

This gift will please anyone who wishes to keep fit by walking. Unlike most pedometers, the Omron HJ-720ITC does not need to be worn on a belt. It can be carried around in a pocket or bag, although a belt attachment is provided too. The replaceable lithium battery lasts approximately 6 months if measuring 10,000 steps per day. The forgetful will appreciate the fact that the pedometer resets itself automatically at midnight each day, so that it is ready for use the next morning. Workouts over the past 7 days can be reviewed on the device, but up to 6 weeks of workouts can be stored in the memory for download to a computer using the included software. The PC software enables weekly, monthly and yearly progress to be monitored and can also be used to input blood pressure and heart rate data if desired. 

10. ResQMe, Keychain Version of the Original LifeHammer

Finally, a small gift at a stocking-filler price, which could save lives. According to the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics, approximately 500 people die each year while trapped in their car following a crash. The ResQMe is just over 3 inches long and weighs just over half an ounce. However, it contains a sharp blade to cut through a jammed seat belt and a spring-loaded stainless steel spike to break through tempered glass car windows. These could mean the difference between life and death by enabling a trapped driver to free him or herself and passengers in time.


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    • WriteAngled profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Abertawe, Cymru

      Thank you! I like to watch tea leaves infusing. It adds pleasure before I even start enjoying the tea.

    • peachpurple profile image


      5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      love your ideas. I think my friends and family members are going to love the tea infuser and the coffee maker. They are caffiene addicts! Games for the teenagers and kids and USB Hub for the computer geeks ! Voted useful

    • WriteAngled profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Abertawe, Cymru

      I most certainly agree. I get so frantic and overwhelmed by the noise and crowds in malls, that often I end up not buying anything because I can't think straight.

    • ftclick profile image


      6 years ago

      gifts bought online do take away from the pressure of going to crowded malls and NOT finding what you want. Thanks

    • WriteAngled profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Abertawe, Cymru

      Thank you! I'm glad to see some people like my ideas. :)

    • RTalloni profile image


      7 years ago from the short journey

      Will be referring to this soon, and referring it to others. Thanks for putting this gift list together!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Love these gifts. You've given me some great ideas. Thanks. :)vocalcoach

    • Gypsy48 profile image


      8 years ago

      Great hub, helpful ideas.

    • WriteAngled profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Abertawe, Cymru

      Thank you, Christy :)

    • profile image

      Christy Zutautas 

      8 years ago

      Fantastic hub with some fantastic gift ideas!


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