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{Holiday Gift Guide} 10 Last-Minute Gifts Everyone Would Love

10 Last-Minute Gifts

I hope you’ve been following the Green and Frugal Gift Guide as I’ve shared favorite presents that are all under $50. If not, don’t worry, you can always download the Guide on the 20th of this month and keep it handy so that you always have a gift idea when you need one!

Now, this last post is well, quite appropriately, about last-minute gifts. Like most of the gift ideas in the gift guide, these are all presents that you can give on just about any occasion that you’re invited to. And we all know that we all need a few of these handy, right?

Despite being relatively well-organized and prepared for a simple, serene holiday season, there can arise the need to rush out for a last-minute gift for a friend or relative who may not have been on our list but decides to spend the holidays with us. So, instead of getting into a flap and just buying whatever you find, have a stash of last-minute gifts for anyone always ready.

Yes, I have a box filled with some of these and they’ve come handy more than once. The others I just buy when I need a last-minute present for a birthday, anniversary or any other occasion and can’t find anything appropriate in my “gift box”.

Here are 10 last-minute gift ideas for just about anyone and everyone:

1. Fabric-Covered Photo Frames

This is one thing that I always have handy. I tend to pick them up from fairs and handicraft shops on sale and keep them away for gifting at housewarmings, anniversaries and even, birthdays. If you can manage it, add a photo of the recipient and voila, you have a personalized gift without stepping out of the house.

2. Stationery Kits

Again, a gift that is always in my box of last-minute presents. This one is a great hit with kids of all ages. I bulk buy (and get a discount) color pencils, crayons, regular pencils, markers, cute erasers and sharpeners and put them into little pouches that I get from The Dollar Store. Having them handy means I usually pair them with a coloring book, again one from my stash and we have a cute present ready in next to no time.

3. Scarves and Stoles

While I don’t have these in my last-minute gift box, I do plan on adding them. Especially when I find them marked down 50% or more once the winter season passes. Not only do they make great gifts in themselves, you can easily pair them with a basket of toiletries (see #10) and have a lovely, indulging present ready for gifting.

4. Board Games

This is one thing that I usually end up buying for kiddie birthday parties. It is a great gift idea for the holidays as well and if you need a last-minute gift idea for a child, I totally recommend this. They’re usually inexpensive, great fun and always loved! Need my recommendations? Check out my holiday gift guide for preschoolers.

5. A Grocery Gift Basket on a Budget

Yes, it is possible to put together a lovely gift basket chock full of foodstuff on a budget? How? Simply buy from discount stores like Big Bazaar and Easy Day in India or Walmart or Tesco in the US and keep a stash of baskets always ready to fill up. Most of these stores have great deals on soups, ready-to-eat meals and snack items, perfect for a gift basket for a young couple or a college student.

6. Scented Candles

I totally adore scented candles. They’re just pure indulgence and so, make the perfect last-minute gift as well. However, I wouldn’t advise buying these in advance and stashing them since they usually lose their fragrance after a point. However, you can totally head to a store and pick them up should you be stuck with buying a last-minute present for someone.

7. Recipe in a Jar

This is for all the foodies out there. If you have a much-loved recipe that a recipient would appreciate, put together a jar with all the dry ingredients in it. Add a note with the recipe and package it with a big bow. Works beautifully for cake mixes, cookie mixes and even, soups.

8. Homemade Cupcakes, Brownies, Candy or Cookies

Always a hit. If you are good or even, moderately good with baking, putting together a basket filled with assorted cookies or fudgy brownies is a fantastic gift to take for a last-minute holiday dinner party. Chocolate fudge is another one of my favorites as a hostess gift or last-minute gift for a child. Want to make something sweet yet healthy? Check out Katie Kimball’s Smart Sweets, my latest fave recipe eBook.

9. Books or even, eBooks

As an avid reader myself, books are my go-to gift when in a pinch and I always have a stash of books for different ages in my gift box. Yes, I still enjoy browsing through children’s literature as well as the occasional romance novel!

Usually I pick these up at sales, either online or offline. These include coloring books and classic story books for the kids as well as a few inspirational reads and cookbooks for the adults.

These days, I’m a BIG fan of eBooks considering it is SO easy and inexpensive to read them. So, I buy an eBook, print it off and spiral bind it and have a fun and inexpensive gift in next to no time.

10. Soaps, Shampoos and Toiletries

Finally, I totally recommend putting together a gift basket filled with soaps and toiletries. Again, head to your favorite discount store and pick the ones that are either BOGO or on 50% or more discount and you’ll have a nice gift basket ready to present. If you are the creative sort, you can also make your own scrubs and lotions and put them into recycled glass jars, add handmade labels and have a fantastic eco and affordable last-minute gift. Need some help making these? Get yourself a copy of Green Beauty Recipes by Julie Gabriel. Tons of ideas to make your own organic beauty and skin care products, at home.


So, what’s one your last-minute gift list for this holiday season?


Photo Credit: Ralph Unden

Disclosure: This post, like my other gift guide posts, contains affiliate links which means that if you buy Katie’s eBook or something from Amazon, I’ll earn a little commission. However, that does not influence my opinions. I just wanted you to know that you’ve gotta taste that good-for-you chocolate syrup or honey molasses cookies from Katie’s ebook or make a yummy scrub for yourself from Julie’s book.


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  1. You can’t beat gift cards for last-minute gifts. Not very creative, I know, but good in a pinch.

    • I love the gift basket idea, even if not last minute. This is great if you are not really sure of what one thing to get. A mix and match of different but related stuff is great for such purposes!!

    • The Mom Writes says:

      Hi Emily, great idea! Gift cards are a fantastic gift and I, for one, would definitely love to receive one rather than a gift that may not be a perfect “fit”:-) Thanks for sharing!

  2. Nice ideas, Prerna – I’ve used every single one at some point. Other than gift cards already mentioned by Emily, another of my favorites is the gift of time and/or experience – either spending time yourself or providing the means for an experience that doesn’t include you. And this can be free (or nearly so) as well, such as cookie-baking with a child. If you need to delay the when of the gift, just make your own gift certificate for the recipient to redeem at a later date. Merry Christmas!

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