Home & Garden

18 Last-Minute Gift Ideas That Will Feel Special and Planned

Christmas is coming, the presents are wrapped. You've made sure to pick a special gift for everyone who will be there. Then it all goes south. Maybe you get the email that Cousin Mavis and her entire family are coming after all. Or you suddenly remember you're responsible for Coworker Bill's Secret Santa at the company Christmas party. Maybe you were the one who couldn't come, but your schedule suddenly freed up. How do choose a last-minute gift – or a whole set of gifts – without a month and more to thoughtfully select each one?

What you need are a few gift ideas that feel special even if you have no time – or know almost nothing about the person you're shopping for. Don't worry, we've got you covered. Every one of these gifts is unique, useful, and can be shipped to you in a few days or less.

1. Smart Home Kits & Add-Ons

Smart homes are as useful as they are popular, and most pieces are plug-and-play. Giving the gift of smart lights or a neat smart appliance is almost guaranteed useful to any lucky gift recipient. Smart home pieces are great because you can give something general, light color-changing smart light bulbs, to someone you don't know or something uniquely taste-specific like a smart coffee pot or smart diffuser to someone you know well.

2. Nifty Kitchen Gadgets

Speaking of coffee pots, many people appreciate a good kitchen gadget. Pick something that saves time in the kitchen without making an assumption about the way your giftee does their cooking. A handy veggie slicer, for example, can speed up any recipe and has the benefit of a novel and potentially thoughtful gift for those who both do or do not enjoy cooking.

3. Fresh Flowers as a Last-Minute Gift

Need to make a good impression with a lady you didn't expect to need a gift for? Get fresh flowers! Swing by your local grocery store or florist for a quick bouquet or make a same-day flower order for a beautiful arrangement at the last minute. Fresh flowers are warm, fragrant, and can be easily personalized if you know the person's tastes pr favorite colors.

4. Mini Self-Growing Garden

Potted and growing plants make a nice gift if the giftee has a green thumb. Not sure? You can't go wrong with a mini self-growing garden. Pick up a little hydroponics set that comes with its own little grow light. Whether your giftee is good or bad with normal potted plants, this delightful set will keep itself green and vibrant indoors with the least possible care. A self-growing garden is great for the home office, kitchen, college dorm, or even a child's bedroom.

5. A Fitness Tracker Watch

Want to put a little spend and personal concern into a gift for someone you don't know, or someone who already has everything? Get them A fitness tracker watch. Fitbit is the leading brand for trackers and smartwatches, but there are plenty of other great brands to explore as well. A fitness tracker is not just a heartbeat counter and workout tracker, it's also a handy multi-feature digital watch from the moment its unwrapped.

6. Brainteaser Puzzle Games

Brain teasers are a holiday favorite, and an excellent gift for the curious, logical, and creative giftees, Children and teens often respond really well to wooden puzzle games and may spend all of Christmas day building and rebuilding the puzzle in delight. Wooden puzzles are also an elegant gift that can be built into a nice coffee table or bedroom shelf decoration even when the puzzle is solved and the game is done.

7. A Cleaning Robot for a Last-Minute Gift

Never underestimate the delight of someone who opens a Roomba. Cleaning robots have really advanced in the last few years and today, you can get robots that mop and have base stations with their own dustbins so they don't have to be emptied every round. Many people have fun giving their Roombas cute names and little animal faces. They can also now be controlled and commanded through the smart home, so this is a great last-minute gift for anyone who likes technology, pets, or dislikes vacuuming.

8. Cute, Funny, and Hardcore Face Mask Collections

For a small yet useful and fun gift, give a set of funny face masks. Let's face it, most people are pretty tired of wearing and seeing face masks. Bringing a little fun to the masking situation can be a great gift for someone you don't know well. Funny cartoon face masks are popular with almost everyone and if you have a few clues about the giftee, a cute mask or a hardcore skeleton face mask set might be just the ticket.

9. Coffee Tumblers and Mugs

For working professionals and busy college students, few gifts are more appreciated than a nice tumbler set. Tumblers today are designed for hot or cold drinks, coffee or smoothies. They hold temperature, have neat portable lids, and many come with washable straws for sipping on the go. You can find personalized sets, funny sets, or simple elegant metallic sets making tumblers a solid last-minute gift for nearly any giftee.

10. A Totally Neat Board Game for a Last-Minute Gift

Kids, teens, and grandparents often appreciate a neat board game they've never seen before – and there are a lot of creative new board games on the market today. From Labyrinth to Exploding Kittens, there's something for everyone in this category of last-minute gifting. Use your knowledge of the giftee to choose a quirky game in their style or stick with more strategy-based games for someone you don't know well.

11. Handheld Massagers

Any adult past the age of 25 can appreciate the value of a handheld massager. If you have no idea what to get someone but you want them to be happy with your last-minute gift, look into the therapeutic section. While not everyone is up for melting paraffin or face scrubbing machines, a massager is always a pleasant and useful thing to have. From the $5 mini-massage spiders to some serious deep tissue back massagers, this category gives you plenty of room to customize your gift without having time to personalize.

12. Paint By Numbers & Fuzzy Posters

Painting by number as a last-minute gift
Painting by numbers on canvas.

Art kits are a great last-minute gift when the only thing you know about the giftee is that they like crafting or wall paintings. For young children to teens, Fuzzy Posters are a vivid art project that becomes a beautiful bedroom decoration. Paint by Numbers is a little tougher, great for middle schoolers to grandmothers who enjoy a few hours of artistic expression. Both can be bought in surprisingly affordable kits for hours of fun and personalized wall art that lasts forever.

13. Tech-Ready Messenger Bag

Want to give a practical gift for an active and busy giftee? Messenger bags with multiple sections and tech-ready compartments are ideal for everyone from school children to college students to professionals on the go. A great messenger bag can become a giftee's favorite new item they use every day – even if you only had a few minutes to pick the right gift at the last possible moment.

14. Petit Four Boxes for a Last-Minute Gift

Sweets tend to have that last-minute feel when you grab a box of chocolates or a muffin basket. But everyone loves Petit Fours. These are mini iced cakes with a luxurious taste that doesn't feel last-minute at all. If you want to give an edible gift without seeming like you swung by the drug store on your way over, wrap a ribbon around a beautiful box of holiday Petit Fours instead. This will taste and feel like a luxurious personal choice instead of the fallback gift of sugar and icing.

15. Bond Touch Bracelets

Need to give a last-minute gift to a loving couple? Bond touch bracelets are a neat new innovation on the smartwatch – they resonate with the partner's life signals. Whether your niece has a new boyfriend who's suddenly coming to Christmas or you need a special gift for your parents on their 40th anniversary, bond touch bracelets will feel meaningful, like you put real personal thought and care into the gift selection for an easy-to-find last-minute present.

16. Glowing Diffuser Humidifier

Diffusers have come a long way from little trays of oil with a tea light candle underneath. Today, diffusers are half coffee table sculptures, half homeopathic gadgets. Many diffusers are humidifiers, essential oil diffusers, smart home devices, and faintly glow lovely colors at the same time. Pair a diffuser with a small set of essential oils for a great last-minute gift that your giftee can start enjoying right away.

17. KeychainTrackers for Keys, Kids, and Pets

Want to give a gift that is infinitely useful and coordinates with the latest smartphone tech? Trackers are Bluetooth keychain fobs that can be tracked and located remotely. A tile tracker on the keys means keys can never be lost in the couch again. A tracker on the cat will find their favorite hiding spots throughout the couch. A set of tile trackers is a creative gift that anyone can use.

18. Uncracked Geode for a Last-Minute Gift

Finally, geodes make a neat science gift that becomes display-worthy art. This creative last-minute gift is great for anyone who likes science, geology, or sparkling crystals. You never know what you'll get inside a geode, but everyone is beautiful on the inside – and fun to smash open with a hammer!

Find the Perfect Last-Minute Gift

Don't let last-minute gift shopping throw off your game. You can still give meaningful gifts that will make your giftee feel special, even without a lot of forewarning or time to choose something highly personal. From little gestures to great additions to their household tools, these gifts will have you looking like a pro no matter how rushed your final round of holiday shopping might be.

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