The holidays are here and parties and celebrations are in full swing already. With all the events along with your everyday responsibilities at work and at home, you may forget to pick up a gift for the Secret Santa game or White Elephant exchange you agreed to participate in a couple of weeks ago.
You’re in a pinch, so you plan to visit a nearby store during your lunch break to find something that doesn’t cost too much but will still be appropriate for the occasion. To help you avoid wandering the aisles in a panic, here are seven last-minute holiday gifts you can find almost anywhere.
“These are handy little accessories [for your cell phone] that come in a variety of designs including basic grips as well as grip/wallet combos,” said consumer analyst Julie Ramhold with DealNews. “They’re available at a number of stores, including Target, Best Buy and more, with a starting price around $6 depending on which option you choose. These make great little gifts because they’re the kind of thing that everyone can appreciate, but also might be small items that not everyone will think of needing. Even those that may already have one can appreciate a neat new design and they can be swapped out easily, so you don’t have to worry about your recipient already having one.”
Cozy Throw Blankets
“These will vary in price but they’re available at so many stores that you can easily find an affordable one to gift, especially if you look at stores like Target where prices should start around $10-$15,” said Ramhold. “Pick a soft throw in a neutral color just to ensure it’ll go with more decorating schemes, or if you know your recipient loves a particular color or pattern, you can get creative with your choices. Throw blankets make excellent gifts because everyone can appreciate a cozy blanket during the winter, but even coworkers may enjoy having one on hand in the office if it’s one that stays cold no matter the time of year.”
Dash Mini Waffle Makers
“These can be purchased in a variety of colors and even special seasonal designs as well as standard waffle shape for around $10 to $13, depending on where you shop,” Ramhold said. “They’re perfect for gift exchanges because they’re ideal for making just a couple of small waffles at a time, perfect for one or two people. They may also be ideal for other items, like making crispy hashbrowns or even waffling cookies or brownies for a different take on dessert.”
She added, “They’re cute gifts that even those lacking culinary inspiration can find some use for, and the fact that they’re so affordable means you really can’t go wrong. If you want to make the gift even more appealing, consider adding a nice dry waffle mix to it like the Golden Malted Waffle Mix, although obviously that’ll increase the overall price of the gift.”
“This is the quintessential last-minute panic buy, but just because they have a bad reputation doesn’t mean they’re a bad purchase,” Ramhold said. “Try to purchase from somewhere like Costco, as that will ensure your dollar goes further. You’ll save anywhere from $15 to $50 depending on the package of gift cards you buy, and may end up with two to four cards that can be split amongst recipients if you want, or given to just one person. Obviously you’ll want to make sure before you buy the gift cards that they’re suitable for who you’re gifting. After all, you don’t want to buy Brazilian steakhouse gift cards for a vegetarian.”
“Do you have a friend who’s a movie buff?” asked savings expert Lisa Thompson of the newly-launched, free savings app Shopmium. “Put together a little gift with microwave popcorn, a box of candy, and a Netflix gift card. Or maybe you have a friend who loves to bake — get them a bag of premium flour, a few festive cookie cutters or baking pan, a nice bottle of pure vanilla and some fun sprinkles.”
“A self-care basket is usually a great way to personalize a gift that will pamper a loved one!” said Thompson. “Find (or use) a simple basket that you either have or can grab at the dollar stores and fill it with items like scented lotions, bath salts, essential oils, gummy vitamins (maybe ones that help to de-stress or promote sleep), a seasonal candle, etc.”
“Your friends who are pet owners will usually cherish any gift you give their fur baby!” Thompson said. “A gift for a fur buddy is a gift for its person — food, treats, toys and the like cost money, and putting together a little basket for your friend’s pet is a great gift for both.”
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