Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Final Countdown

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Are you ready shoppers? This is it, the final Christmas Countdown. I have to admit, I’m a little stressed. I made the priority mail shipping today with final gifts and Christmas cards, but I am not done yet. It’s like an obstacle course at this point. There are last minute items to get for the kiddies and the most difficult shoppers, the men in my life. The BFF has already called today to request a change in one of the items on his list. My niece is still wanting clothes for her American Girl doll and the list continues with Thomas the Train items my nephew must have. If you’re struggling like I am, here are a few last minute gift ideas.

iTunes Gift Card. You can’t go wrong with the gift of music. The recipient gets to pick their favorite tunes and you get to pick up a convenient and economical gift from the grocery, the drugstore or even online for sending via email. Its easy and a great way to avoid last minute shipping snafus.

An American Express Gift Card. This little gold wrapped cards give you something nice to put under the tree. You can find them at just about any grocery or drugstore. The nice thing about the Amex card is it is fee free. That means if you paid $50.00 for it, your giftee gets to use $50.00 worth of your gift. There are no service charge fees added in.

A Good Book. The holidays are usually the time I catch up on my reading. It’s the perfect time to escape into a good story or a biography. I just finished “Social Lives” by Wendy Walker and I highly recommend it. This book is my fantasy of what might be happening to the professional socialite wives married to men like Bernie Madoff. Behind all the Birkin bags and Jimmy Choos there is some real angst and heartache. Social Lives looks at each of its wealthy protagonists to see how they will go forward when personal and financial set backs force them to reevaluate everything they thought they could count on. You can feel the breaking of social facades as you turn each page. The book has a surprise ending that will leave you smiling. For more book ideas, check the current New York Time bestseller list . You can gift a book and wrap it with a bow or simply gift a book certificate.

Make a Spa Stocking with items from the Drugstore. I recently spoke with TODAY’s style editor Bobbie Thomas and she had excellent suggestions for making a spa holiday Christmas stocking for your favorite guy or gal. Bobbie suggests filling a colorful stocking with items like Olay New Thermal Pedicure for women, or a good Gillette razor (Spa Breeze) and body wash for men. Other popular items include Burt’s Bees lip balm, shaving lotions and moisturizers. Always look for coupons for Burt’s Bees to maximize the savings.

Charitable Contributions. It’s a great time to make a donation to charity in the name of a loved one. Your gift is also tax deductible.

These are just a few ideas to help jump start your creativity as the Christmas Countdown continues. I’ll be sharing more tips throughout the week. Stay tuned!


Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.