Christmas is a wonderful time of year – once you’ve done all the shopping that is! Buying gifts for family and friends is one of the most stressful and expensive elements of the festive season and for that reason is something that many of us will leave until the last minute. Perhaps you’ve been a bit short of time, maybe you’ve been waiting until the next payday before you will have the funds to make your purchases or you might just be totally out of ideas. Whatever the reason, if you’ve left it a bit late to buy your Christmas presents this year then don’t worry as all is not lost – below are some last minute gifts that will still delight.
Ok so it’s not the most original or inventive of gift ideas – on the surface at least. Vouchers for books or music might generally elicit a groan of boredom from some people but there are so many options for vouchers these days that you can be much more creative at the last minute and still give a great gift. For example, instead of a clothes voucher why not buy a personal shopping experience for a loved one. And rather than generic vouchers for mass retailers, choose an experience that is personalised to the individual you’re buying for – there can be no accusations of a lack of thought if you’re buying someone something they’ve always wanted to do.
Again, so easy to buy – it takes a matter of minutes to buy online and you can print out and hand over tickets in a card. However, the impact of buying someone a trip away, some flights or a hotel stay is huge so you know there will be no disappointed sideways glances when your gift is opened this year.
The problem for many of us is that, if you’ve left your present buying to the very last minute, then you’re too late for delivery from elsewhere and you may not have time to get to the vast array of shopping choice in bigger cities such as London. However, there are still some great options available from your local merchants:
– A herb growing kit. You’d pay a fortune for something like this if you bought it as a ready made present online but if you’ve got a garden centre near you then this is something you can easily put together yourself. Choose a container, a small bag of compost, seeds or plants and a small digging implement and wrap the whole thing up with a bow.
– Fry ups for a year. Find a great local butcher and open an account in the name of the recipient of your gift then deposit some funds. Create a voucher that entitles them to free sausages and bacon every weekend for a period of time that you can afford. For the weekend foodie it’s a perfect gift.
– Chocolate. Sometimes less is more, and sometimes – well, it’s not. If you’re panic buying an edible gift for someone and all you’ve got is supermarket options then bigger is most definitely better. Go completely overboard and fill a piñata with Ferrero Rocher or create a supersized box of Quality Street with a large cardboard box, a bit of creativity and a lot of chocolate.
A charity donation
Sometimes, having your Christmas gift donated to a charity of the giver’s choosing without you having a say in the matter might seem like a bit of a mean present. However, if you have a family member or friend you know is passionate about a cause but can’t afford to support it then this can be a great gift to give – and it’s easy to arrange at the last minute too. Sponsoring a child or an animal is a particularly popular choice and turns a one off gift into an experience that keeps on giving.
Memberships and subscriptions
Many of us consider anything that we do in our leisure time to be a luxury and that means there’s little money for it in many household budgets at the moment. While a membership or subscription can seem a little unimaginative it’s basically providing access to something that your recipient loves to do/read/see/hear throughout the year without them having to pay for it. Whether it’s membership of a local cinema or theatre, a subscription to a music service or a glossy magazine, or signing someone up for a club they’ve always wanted to join but never had the money for, this is a gift that once given lasts all year.
Oliver Jones has written for Solution Loans since 2015. His passion for personal finance comes through in the 150+ blog posts he's written since that time. His talent for explaining all things money means he's covered topics as diverse as...Read more about Oliver Jones