Last Minute Holiday Gifts

By Insurance.com Posted : 12/17/2008

Quick tips for when you're out of options.

We've all been there. It's Christmas Eve, and we're either on the road to Grandmother's House—and those woods don't have much in the way of stores left open, not this late—or we're sitting around the fire and we realize that we've forgotten to get a cousin or friend a gift.

This year, Insurance.com employees have come up with some suggestions to help you save the day.

Quick Gift Suggestions
"Keep a few inexpensive gifts sitting around, generic presents that could work for anyone. LED flashlights, especially the key ring kind, are a good example of a gift that fits any budget and can sit around in a closet for a year or two just waiting for a moment to shine (literally and figuratively). If you keep them wrapped or in small gift bags, you can even just grab them as you're running out the door. Don't forget to write the name on the label before you get to where you're going." – Stephen H.

“There's nothing better than the unopened birthday presents from your child's last party.” —Brea W.

"A few ideas, which are probably fairly well known to most people, include buying scratch-off lottery tickets—I use these as stocking stuffers all the time. A good bottle of wine makes for a decent last minute gift, and you can always buy singing, dancing or even cooking lessons for someone—but make sure they can't already sing, dance or cook, otherwise they might take the gift the wrong way…" – John M.

"If I have an almost finished scarf I'm knitting, I can slip it off the needles, and bring it along as a thoughtful gift. I also sometimes have some school supplies left over from my son's back-to-school list, and those can make good stocking stuffers. Also, sometimes I "re-gift" books I haven't started reading yet… so if you get a book from me this year, you know why!" – Candace H.

"My dad started a tradition of asking us to donate to the local FoodBank every year, instead of buying him pajamas—and it's a great idea for last minute gifts! Just get a beautiful card and write a note saying, "A gift has been made in your honor."—and of course, don't forget to make that donation!" – Moira L.

"There's nothing better than the unopened birthday presents from your child's last party that serve as the ultimate savior when a friend shows up with unexpected gifts for your children. And the best place to find last minute gifts from a grocery store or gas station is in the travel-sized section. You can easily put together a care package of snacks, pain-killers, gum and so on—it looks like a lot of thought went into it, and I can usually name a reason for every thing I put into the package!" – Brea W.

Gas Station Gift List
If you're already on the road and are passing a gas station or convenience store, people might actually appreciate it if you buy them some of the gifts on this list.

  • Lottery Cards
  • Gas Cards
  • Gift Cards for Stores
  • Wine or Beer
  • Egg Nog
  • Christmas Tree Ornaments
  • Cigarettes (though, you really shouldn't!)
  • Cigars (for special occasions!)
  • Chocolate
  • Candy
  • Soft drinks/mixers
  • Sports team gifts (especially on major interstates!)
  • State-based gifts
  • Sunglasses
  • Coffee-shop gift sets

Gas Station Don't List
Remember when Joey and Chandler went last minute Christmas shopping at a gas station on Friends? Even if you don't remember that episode of the TV show, if you turn up with these kind of gifts, don't be surprised if next year you get some interesting gifts of your own…

  • Oil
  • Windshield wipers
  • Random hanging air freshener (even if it's needed!)
  • Funnels
  • Tire pressure gauges
  • Toilet seat covers(!)
  • Power steering fluid
  • Those stale hotdogs
  • City maps
  • Postcards from the area

Want to share your last minute gift stories or tips? Do you have any questions or comments? Please let us know.

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