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Last-minute Christmas gift ideas and etiquette

8 Do’s and Don’ts of Last Minute Christmas Shopping

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It’s the last weekend before Christmas! Are you relaxing, enjoying time with family because you used Giftster and all your shopping is finished? Or are you braving the store lines, choosing overnight shipping, and hoping for the best? If you’re using Giftster, we’ve got your back! Here are my six do’s and don’ts for last-minute Christmas shopping that help you continue to get gifts right.

1. Do: Give a gift card

Don’t: Pull money from your wallet and decide that’s your gift.

While giving gift cards and cash are essentially the same as they are both monetary gifts, one has a bit more thought in it than the other. And we’ve always been told it’s the thought that counts, right? Look at the recipient’s Giftster list for where they may like to shop. Even better, look at their gift preferences for tips about what store they most want to shop. Get creative with presenting their gift card by placing it in a fancy box, wrapping it like a pro, and finishing it with a ribbon and bow. 

Unless they’ve specifically told you or have it on their list that they’re saving up for something in particular, cash is probably not the ideal gift to give. Well…unless they are a teenager or college student, where the cash would come in handy the most. But I promise you, a gift card given to your wife for SpaFinder or something like that will be much more appreciated than taking out folded cash from your wallet and sticking it in a card. 

2. Do: Give a subscription box.

Don’t: Go to the store, find everything related to this one thing your loved one is into, buy everything you see that relates to it, and put it in a box.

There’s pretty much a subscription box for everything these days. A subscription box gift is a gift that keeps on giving! It works well for last-minute Christmas shopping because you can order them online. It doesn’t need to be for very long; it could be a couple of months, whatever is most appropriate for the recipient. It will show more thought in the gift than just going and buying several random things just because they’re related to someone’s interest. A subscription box can also introduce them to items and themes adjacent to their interest, helping your gift to be insightful while avoiding redundancy. 

3. Do: Give a nice piece of clothing.

Don’t: Give clothing if you don’t know what size to give.

I’ve received clothing that’s too small and, at other times, too big. Sometimes, there’s a receipt; other times, I’m just stuck with it. To the back of the closet, never to be worn or used by me if I donate, return, or sell it. So, while giving that sweater in the perfect color for your nephew, if you don’t know the size, put it down and move on. If you really want to give it, you could always give a gift card for the sweater amount and plan a date to take the person shopping so they can try it on. Spend time with a loved one AND give a gift? That’s a two-for-one present! Another option is to gift them a personal shopping experience with a service like Mindful Closet or Stich Fix. However, approach this gift cautiously; you want it to be appreciated. You don’t want to insult the recipient by implying they need style help. 

4. Do: Donate to the recipient’s favorite charity.

Don’t: Forget to tell them that you donated.

I may be talking from experience here because this may have happened to me once or twice. If you donate online, the charity will often give you the chance to print a letter to give to the recipient. Sometimes, they send a letter directly to them as well, but for those of us who like to give something for the person to open, that defeats the purpose. Have a little fun with this type of gift, and get creative with gift wrapping. This is the perfect gift for someone who has asked for no gifts. First, choose a charity that supports a cause the recipient is passionate about. Then, you could get a token item that represents the charity. Wrap up the item with the donation letter, giving it a fancy touch with a ribbon and a bow

5. Do: Give a consumable treat that you know they love.

Don’t: Give them something they’re allergic to or cannot eat.

Wines and spirits and nuts and sweets. Those gifts are always loved, except when you have food allergies or other sensitivities or restrictions. My father-in-law, who is diabetic, would love a tin of nuts but would likely pass on the box of chocolates. Check out the recipient’s gift preferences to see what would be best. If they aren’t on Giftster or haven’t listed preferences, run your gift idea by someone close to them, like a parent, spouse, or child. Use our helpful guide to wrap those oddly shaped gifts of food jars and containers. 

6. Do: Keep it simple.

Don’t: Go overboard and don’t impulse shop.

Gifts don’t always need to be grand or one-up the previous year. Don’t overthink it; keep it simple. The little things on a person’s wish list often mean just as much as the big things. And when you’re shopping at the last minute, sometimes simple is best. Remember the recipient’s gift preferences and fight the urge to impulse buy. No giant walruses, okay?

7. Do: Shop Local. 

Don’t: Underestimate Shipping Times. 

Shopping locally helps support your local community while also helping you find unique or one-of-a-kind gifts. These gifts show the recipient that you spent time and effort thinking about them and their interests. You then took the time to find the perfect gift for them. Sometimes, the thought and effort behind the gift mean more than the gift itself. If you decide to shop online, plan well in advance. Modern shipping times can be unpredictable and often delayed. It’s better to order sooner than risk their gift arriving after Christmas because you did last-minute Christmas shopping.

8. Do: Stay on Budget. 

Don’t: Overspend due to lack of planning.

Staying on budget is crucial for reducing your holiday stress. Before you shop, decide how much you can afford to spend on your gifts for the holiday season. Then, break down this total to calculate how much you want to spend on each person. That way, you can narrow your options to gifts that fit your budget. 

Without a plan, you won’t know how much you spend until you’re done shopping. You could easily spend significantly more than you want or can afford to. You will also lack direction when gift shopping, increasing your stress levels. Last-minute Christmas shopping can cause you to spend more as stores sell out, and you run out of time to shop for the best deal. 

No matter where your last-minute shopping takes you, make sure you have Giftster loaded on your mobile device to double-check those wish lists and gift preferences before you check out.

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