It’s the most wonderful time of the year — and also the most hectic. So we’re helping out with 15 last-minute, budget-friendly gift ideas you can order, pick up or put together within 48 hours.
If you’re not armed with a carefully crafted wish list, look into one of the following:
- The experience: Is your child a budding scientist, artist-in-training or adventurer? Tap into their hobbies, and treat them to a day at your local science museum, an art class, or a go-carting adventure.
Tip: Many local museums offer free days to visit, as well as discounted tickets for kids, which can help save on costs. Additionally, to save on time, try booking your tickets and classes online.
- The practical need: Mix practical needs with the holiday season by gifting supplies for all the fun that’s to come in 2016 — think soccer cleats, a swimsuit or an e-reader for the new year.
Tip: Be sure to double-check shipping dates! Only order these goods online if they’re guaranteed to arrive in time. If not, you’ll want to hit the local shops instead.
- The thoughtful DIY: Print some fun photos of you and your kids from throughout 2015, and work with them to create collages to hang in their rooms.
Tip: Get some quality printer paper, or visit a nearby printing shop. Swing by the dollar store on your way home to pick up paper, glue, and glitter to give your collages a little something extra.
Give your parents something thoughtful and sweet (and team up with siblings to save on costs):
- The experience: A subscription to ancestry.com may give your parents a chance to re-connect with their past in a new and exciting way.
Tip: Subscriptions for this “story of a lifetime” start at $19.99 per month, or $99 for a six-month membership.
- The practical need: If they have everything, consider stopping by your local market or specialty store and filling a gift basket with their favorite foods (pasta, sauce and parmesan, perhaps?), topped with a bottle of wine for a nice night in.
Tip: If your budget permits, make this a gift that keeps on giving by signing your parents up for a “gift of the month” club. You’ll save yourself a shopping trip (you can order online!) and ensure they can enjoy delightful treats year-long.
- The thoughtful DIY: Enlist the kids to craft a pair of ridiculously cute mugs that will add a little more joy to your parents’ morning routine. Then, pair those mugs with their favorite coffee, tea or sweets.
Tip: You should be able to find all the materials needed to create the mugs at your local dollar or craft store.
Did you know… the average American plans to spend $595 or more on gifts?
Get more festive stats from our Holiday Spending Quiz.
A simple thank you will often do, but if you want to give a little more, try one of these:
- The experience: Make a donation in a teacher’s name for a feel-good holiday season.
Tip: Need some inspiration? Consider donating to your school’s food program, or a charity that’s close to your heart.
- The practical need: Classrooms always need new supplies, so find out what’s missing in yours. Then, hit your local dollar or office supply store to fill a basket of essentials.
Tip: If time permits, team up with other parents (on a donate-what-you-can basis) to save money and fill the basket with even more supplies.
- The thoughtful DIY: Set up an art station for the kids to create holiday cards. You’ll simply need paper, markers and crayons, and maybe a few festive cookies to spread some cheer.
Tip: Have more time to spare? Try one of these 17 creative ideas — including a customized notebook and planter box.
If your partner hasn’t hinted at what they want, one of the following should do the trick:
- The experience: Vouchers to the local movie theatre will provide a sweet, simple night for around $30.
Tip: Looking to spend a little more? Consider a tasting tour, or tickets to a local concert or play.
- The practical need: For cozy nights in, consider gifting a new book on a topic your partner loves (get ideas from the best-selling books of 2015).
Tip: Prefer to spread the sweetness throughout the year? Consider getting them a subscription to a hobby magazine or a mix of magazines.
- The thoughtful DIY: Up your snack game, and whip up a batch of homemade salsa (with festive labels to boot), or simply frame a fun photo of the two of you.
Tip: Want to cut back on gifts, but spend more time together? Plan, prep and enjoy a homemade holiday feast from your partner’s favorite cookbook.
Want to pass along a little festive cheer to your friends? Try one of these:
- The experience: Save yourselves the stress of finding the perfect gift, and discuss going out for a nice dinner together.
Tip: It’s an opportunity to simply catch up and enjoy each other’s company, absolutely stress-free!
- The practical need: Help your friends stay in touch while keeping warm this winter with trendy texting gloves they can wear while using any touchscreen.
Tip: If you’re in a time-crunch, swing by a nearby holiday market to support local makers.
- The thoughtful DIY: Once you gather a few supplies from the bulk store, you can put together festive mulled-cider sachets in 10 minutes. The perfect complement to for cold winter nights.
Tip: For a gift that’s even sweeter, add a few homemade cookies to the mix.