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Last Minute Gift Tips From Your Holiday Helper!

December 23, 2020 | 10:00pm EST

Let me guess. You, a mere overworked, underpaid, existential college student, forgot that in order to get the gifts that you order online in time for Christmas, you needed to order them in like, October. And if you were looking to buy for Hanukkah, well that deadline was even earlier. The only way to get around this is to whip out your mom’s Amazon Prime account, but in a year of “shop-small” emphasis, this comes in poor taste. Well what’s a person to do? Don’t get your tinsel in a twist too soon. Tis’ I, your friendly secular elf, here to provide those last minute, day-or-so late, easy-peasy gifts to give to your friends and foes. And on a budget too (they will probably cost $10-$30, depending on where you shop and what you decide to do). So sit back, relax, and then start gifting :)

1. Groovy Earrings:

It’s simple. Go buy yourself a pack of Shrinky Dinks from your local craft store. And I bet you have a bead store where you can pick up some earring hooks and jump rings. Print out some pictures online and you’ve got a recipe for zany earrings, perfect for any fashion-plate on your list. Not feeling like you can handle a Sharpie with that much care? Buy some chapsticks or other random knick knacks that you can glue onto your earring hooks and tadaa! Instant hit. Just hit up youtube for some easy tutorials :)

2. A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words:

Ok, ready? Print a picture of you and your giftee certain to make them smile. You can do it quickly and last minute at a CVS/drugstore. Find an appropriate sized, plain frame (you can get these anywhere (a dollar store, Target, or local business). Use puffy paint or paint based sharpies to write inside jokes around the frame. Before you put the picture in, write a sweet note on the back (but make sure to tell them about it). And that’s it! It’s that easy! And, you’ll get extra points for going the sentimental route

3. Garden Party:

Have some old jars laying around? Maybe some dirty flowerpots? Use old and tattered book pages; mod podge glue; acrylic paint; and/or glitter to decorate some fun botanical decor. Then swing by your local nursery or hardware store for a succulent/plant to plop into your newly designed receptacle. Yes, the plant will probably die, but painting and decorating something is so personal and so simple– it doesn’t even need to look good, it can be an endearing mess. Your friends/family will love it and they’ll be hit with a wave of nostalgia for kindergarten crafts and playing outside. Plus, they’ll think of you whenever they see it. Perfect for your granola pals. Check out youtube/TikTok/Pinterest for inspiration!

4. Very Vintage:

Thrifting clothes is a sustainable and fun way to upgrade a wardrobe. Go swing by your favorite vintage/thrift store and grab a sweatshirt or t-shirt to embroider an inside joke or simple art piece on. You can find embroidery floss, hoops, and needles at any craft store, and can print out patterns online. You're creating a cute and stylish gift while also acting sustainably and creatively!

5. Ooh! Artsy!:

Crafting is a theme here. Dig around in your old art kit and find those empty canvases and acrylic paint. You can find materials that you don’t have at your local arts and crafts store (or a Michaels/Joanns nearby). You don’t have to be a painter or an artist for this: paint it a solid color, wait for it to dry, and then sketch out a quote that your giftee is sure to like. If you’re feeling gutsy, paint over the pencil with another color. If that’s not your thing, you can just use sharpie (but be gentle). It’s handmade, from the heart, and certain to make them smile. Use embroidery floss as pictured below for another layer of visual complexity. Don’t have any canvases? Paint rocks instead! A quirky and cute way to use what’s around you.

6. Ready, Set, Bake!

There is no harm in simply baking a massive load of cookies for your giftees. But if that isn’t your energy, this is another easy plan. Secure a large mason jar (probably 32 ounces). You can usually get them at Target. Pick your favorite cookie recipe and make one of those cute layered cookie recipe jars! You can also do this with hot chocolate, loading the jar up with cocoa packets, marshmallows, candy canes, etc. Don’t worry, there are videos for it. And remember to wear gloves/ wash your hands and print out the actual recipe for your giftee!

7. Your local bookstore

Your local bookstore is the place to go, I promise. If it is anything like mine, you can find tons of high-quality candles, hand lotions, pencil pouches, and stickers. And even better, you can ask your booksellers for a book recommendation. They’ll be able to grab you a paperback your giftee is sure to love with little-to-no information. Have a title in mind? Nothing is more personal than sharing your favorite book. Throw a sweet note on the inside cover and you’ve got the perfect gift.

That’s all from me folks. Hope this helps all you lovely, chaotic people like me. Have a happy holiday season and here’s to the new year!


Soph the Holiday Helper

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