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Last-minute holiday presents

Let’s pretend that you haven’t completed your holiday shopping yet. Let’s pretend that you didn’t make a list, check it twice, and all in time for cyber Monday deals. Or, if you can’t pretend you aren’t organized and ready for present warfare, let’s pretend someone who wasn’t on your holiday list just added you to theirs. If the mail lost a box and you have a slot to fill, if you forgot that your brother got married last year, if you are unexpectedly a guest at someone’s pre-holiday screening of Lord of the Rings, this is the list for you.

  • Wine/beer/liquor – You might think this suggestion is a bit obvi, but there are few ways to make this standard your own. Try going local (basically the threebirds byline by now). Get your goods close to home and you run a good chance of giving the recipient something they’ve never had before. Make it personal by adding a card which ties you to the gift. Something simple like “we tried this on our trip to Maine and fell in love” or “we know how much you love your bubbly” can really bring the gift to life.
  • Coffee – With coffee roasters popping up all over the place, java is having a serious moment. If your recipient is a caffeine lover, a bag of beans is perfect. Our faves are Intelligentsia, Dark Matter, and Stumptown.
  • Cookbooks – As the (first) Internet’s popularity soars and iPads replace Julia Child, cookbooks are becoming a thing of the past. We think there’s something romantic about sticking with this classic culinary tool. Find one with lots of good pictures, a theme you believe in, and flag the specific recipes you think the recipient might enjoy in the card.
  • Magazine subscriptions – The gift that keeps on giving. Is there anything better than getting snail mail? We don’t think so. For a small price you can give year-round excitement. We love Whole Living, Real Simple, Vegetarian Times, and Time Out Chicago.
  • An awesome scarf – A person cannot have too many scarves, and there are so many fantastic styles out now. Hanna just snagged a lovely infinity scarf from Gap (half-off, what up?), and there are plenty of guy-friendly ones out there. There’s no need to worry about size, and bonus points for easy wrapping.
  • Gift cards for pampering – Some think gift cards are impersonal, but who doesn’t love getting them? It’s the gift that says “treat your self.” A card for a manicure, facial, or massage is sure to please. For the fellas this may mean something more like a session with a personal trainer or credit at his favorite cigar shop/whiskey bar/barber. Many restaurants are on the gift certificate circuit, find out where your friends like to eat and get them a meal on you.
  • A class/tour – Booking a loved one and yourself a spot at a class is a great way to share interests. Look into a cooking class, wine tasting, museum tour, architectural cruise, photography workshop, pottery class, or whatever hobby they might have. Knowledge is power!
  • “For her” Walgreens gift medley – If you are short on time, it’s pretty easy to throw together a spa-night package at any local Walgreens or drugstore. Pick up a peppermint hand scrub, a few shades of Essie nail polish, and a nail groomer tool. Slap it on the base and you’ve got a quick, well-rounded gift.
  • “For him” Walgreens gift medley – In man years, most of the young gentleman in your life are in their teens and twenties. No man-child I know would turn down candy or a ten-dollar remote-controlled car. Add in some batteries, a flashlight, and a deck of cards for the practical guy and you might just win Christmas.

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