Last-minute Gifts That Are Truly Thoughtful

Shopping last-minute? Get a gift that's both thoughtful and fun!

Running out of time to get that special someone a gift but don't want to look like you waited until the last minute? We've got a number of really great ideas that cover the gambit from having just enough time to get something shipped to you to running out to a local store to do-it-yourself projects that will make you look the thoughtful and loving gift-giver that you are!

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Public Domain / Pixabay

There are a lot of great, thoughtful gift ideas for do-it-yourselfers who know how to cook or are great at making things. But what about the rest of us? You don't need to be good at following directions to put together a thoughtful last-minute present. You just need a CVS or Walgreens nearby.

Both popular pharmacies have apps that will let you print photos to pick up at the store. And while you're there, you can buy a few picture frames.

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Digital Photo Frames


Of course, you don't need to actually print out the images to give the gift of photos. Digital photo frames are the 21st century's answer to photo albums.

Small (under 10 inches) digital frames makes great tech gifts and are often priced at less than $50. You can load them up with pictures via a USB flash drive, and if you don't mind spending a little extra cash, you can upgrade to a 10-inch or 12-inch frame and still come in under $100.

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Cook or Bake a Gift

Public Domain / pxhere

Is it December 24th and you just remembered someone on your list? Very last minute gifts can be problematic. There's no time to ship, even if you are willing to pay extra, and the super-crowded stores may be out of the best gifts. Fortunately, almost everyone loves the gift of food.  

It's actually quite easy to make something like peanut brittle or peppermint bark, children can even help with many last-minute holiday treats.

Here are a few quick-and-easy recipes:

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Amazon Echo Dot

Echo Dot on side table

Despite the name, you don't have to order this one from Amazon to give a great gift. If you don't have time to get this one shipped, run down to your local Best Buy or another electronics store to find an Amazon Echo Dot.

This voice-assistant smart speaker does more than just play music and can make a great gift for just about anyone, especially those gadget lovers.

What can someone do with an Echo? Besides play music, the Echo can deliver news, weather, sports scores, purchase items from Amazon, set reminders for tasks and meetings and even compose to-do lists all by using voice commands.

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Customized T-Shirt

Wikimedia Commons / Farliberty

If you have enough time for shipping, you can create a customized T-Shirt at CustomInk. You can add text, a jersey-style name on back or an image from a photo to a wide variety t-shirts and collared shirts.

But even if you don't have time for shipping, a custom shirt can be a thoughtful gift and still be last minute. The gold standard is tie dye, of course, and the folks at Instructables can walk you through the tie dye process.


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Google Cardboard VR

Wikimedia Commons / Evan-Amos

Gifting a gadget lover with an Android-based smartphone? Google Cardboard can turn a smartphone into a VR headset for less than $20. You would be amazed at just how well it works. The software might not compete with an Oculus, but there are a lot of cool apps out there designed for VR.

Google Cardboard works so well because we've already spent $$$ on a high-quality display in the form of our smartphone, and this cheap accessory simply leverages that awesome display to create a very good VR experience. You can find these at gaming or electronics stores in your area if you don't have time for shipping.

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Plan a Vacation

Public Domain / Pixabay

Need a last-minute gift but not on a budget? If you have a special someone whose gift has simply alluded you, a post-Christmas trip might make the perfect thing. You can either purchase a full trip, a single night somewhere fun or even send gift certificates.

The best part is many travel agencies and websites run specials right up to Christmas, so you can get a pretty good deal. Check websites like Kayak or Airbnb for specials. You may even find a good deal for a local hotel stay on Groupon.

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Fitbit Flex 2


You don't need to spend an arm and a leg for a smart device capable of tracking your exercise. If you know someone who is into fitness who hasn't jumped on the Fitbit bandwagon yet, the Flex 2 can make an excellent (and quite affordable!) gift. It's also a great idea for anyone wanting to lead a healthier lifestyle.

One cool feature of Fitbits and other activity monitors is reminding the user at various intervals to get active. The Flex 2 can also go underwater, track sleep activity, and alert the user to incoming phone calls and text messages.

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Tickets to a Concert, Play, Musical or Sporting Event

Public Domain / Pixabay

Most of us love something, be it music, sports, arts, etc. Tickets to a favorite play or a cool concert can be one of the most thoughtful gifts and one that can be purchased ten minutes before you leave for the holiday party if buying from a website like Ticketmaster that allows you to print your own tickets. 

Or you can just print up some fake tickets as a placeholder until the real ones arrive. If it is a local venue, don't forget to check Groupon for any sales.

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Anker PowerCore Fusion


Completely out of ideas? If do-it-yourself just isn't your thing and you just don't know what to give, then give the gift of time. And by that, we don't mean time with you. We mean more time with their gadgets.  How many times have you really needed to use your smartphone or tablet only to find it low on battery power?

Portable batteries don't need to be bulky to work well. The PowerCore Fusion is small enough to be unnoticeable and acts as both a wall charger, which turns your outlet into multiple USB charging stations, and a portable charger with enough juice to power up most smartphones twice.