Custom Gifts for the Last Minute Shopper

There are some people that start shopping the day after Christmas. They plan, hunt and dream about the perfect gift all year round. But then there are the others who don’t feel the need to shop for Christmas presents until the week before Christmas. For those of you who have put off the shopping trip till today, I have a plan for you! Let these ideas spark your imagination as you go shopping tonight!


Create Custom Gifts for the Last Minute Shopper

For the Book Lover:

Go to your local thrift store or used book store and head straight to the clearance rack. Pick out as many books as you can find for less than $1.00. It doesn’t matter if you have ever heard of the author. Just pick them based on the cover. If your reader friend loves westerns, then find books that look like they are about cowboys. If they love sci-fi, then go for the books that have space ships on the front.

Go home and wrap each book individually. Then put all the wrapped books inside a big box with a card that tells the recipient to open one book at a time! Don’t let them open them all at once. The fun of this gift is that they will be opening their present for many weeks to come. If they don’t like a particular book, they can donate it to the local thrift store.

No time to get to a store? Don’t forget the power of Amazon Prime! This past week, we had an office party but all of my coworkers live in different states. Many of us utilized 2 day shipping and had a gift shipped to our friends. You could order a Lens Mug or Vintage Camera Ornament

For the Craft Mom:

Anyone who loves to craft knows that buying supplies can be the hardest part, especially if you have kids. Make it easier for her by loading her up with all the items needed to create memories and crafts with her kids. Take a walk down your local crafting aisle and pick up as many little items as you can put in a basket. Pipe cleaners, glue dots, stickers, glitter, markers, paint brushes, pom-poms etc. Package them in a plastic shoe box size container and put a big bow around the box.

For the College Student:

College students typically have money for the extra things to make life smell good or taste great. Buy a plastic laundry basket and fill it with consumables like paper towels, laundry detergent, snack bars, peanut butter, and soaps.

For the Ladies:

Got a niece you need to buy for? Fill up a pretty basket with bath soaps, a new scrubby brush, wash-cloth or bath gel. Add a pretty scented candle to complete the gift.

For the Gardener:

This one can be tricky in the month of December, but if you get lucky, you may find gardening tools and supplies in the clearance section of your home improvement stores. If you can’t find anything there, then get creative and buy a clear vase and glass rocks in the crafting section. Then go over to the outdoor section and look for spring flowering bulbs. You can place one in the vase, wrap a ribbon around the mouth of the vase and give the gift of Daffodil Bulbs. A true gardener will probably be able to get that bulb to grow through the winter.

If you know 3 things about someone, you can create the person custom gift!

  • Favorite Color
  • Favorite Hobby
  • Favorite Flavor

With the three pieces of information, you can find something special for anyone!

For the Handyman:

If you have a carpenter or jack of all trades on your gift list then they probably have everything they need in the tool department. But spend 5 minutes looking through their tool box in the garage and you will probably find a couple tools that look a little worn out. Pick up a new set of screwdrivers, hammer, a level or putty knife and package it in a tin trash can. You can drop in a box of trash bags and paper towels to create the perfect gift for the garage.

***Don’t forget that Amazon will even still deliver some presents on time for Christmas if you can’t get out of the house!

Click here for Holiday Ordering Cutoff Dates And if you get down to the day of Christmas, you can always give the gift of Amazon Prime. I can’t begin to tell you how many times Prime has saved us in a pinch!

This list is just the beginning. There is always a way to create a customized gift without spending a fortune or having to do a huge craft. Just walk through the aisles of the stores and think about who you are shopping for. I’d love to hear how you create a custom gift at the last minute!


cerpts of this article appeared in the print edition of the Advocate Messenger 12/20/15.


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