3 Last Minute Gift Ideas That Won’t Break You Financially

by Kevin on December 23, 2010

You procrastinated, didn’t you?

It’s two days before Christmas. You technically have two shopping days (including today) left unless you’re really gutsy and want to try to get something on Christmas morning. The stores are either sold out of everything or there’s so picked over that it is hit or miss… making last minute shopping a panicked disaster.

You could go the gift card route… but unless it is a really unique store that you don’t have the expertise to shop in then the person will wonder if you bought it the day before Christmas. Avoid this if possible or use it as an extreme last minute emergency gift.

Have no fear. You still have time to not only make amends, but find or make a great gift for that special someone.

Three Quick and Appreciated Christmas Gifts

A Family Photo and New Frame

Everyone loves family photos. There’s always room for another snapshot to sit on the office desk or on the mantle. You could take a photograph from earlier in the year and give it as a gift. That would be decent.

However, I would encourage you to take it a step above. Grab a camera or hire a photographer. Get the family together. Take a nice photo and search out a specific frame for the shot.

In other words you can take a simple gift and put some thought and effort into it. Finding a great frame can really change a photo and be one of those things the gift receiver will appreciate for years to come.

Appropriate for: parents, grown children, grandparents

A Dinner Date at Home

With the struggles in the economy you may not be able to afford to take your spouse to the nicest steakhouse in town. No worries, you can bring the steakhouse home to you!

I have to give my wife props on this one. We usually go to Fleming’s for a romantic dinner at least once per year. The dinner is usually on or around our anniversary, and it normally hits us for about $150 with tip and dessert. (And it is worth every penny for the experience.)

However, $150 is a lot of money to drop on one meal. That’s why we only do it once per year!

She decided to see if we could recreate the Fleming’s experience at home. That means filet mignon, Fleming’s potatoes, and creme brulee. We bought everything at the grocery store, she found some receipes, bada bing, bada boom, next thing you know we’ve got the same meal sitting on our plates. It was absolutely delicious.

So take some time to do some research and cook up a nice meal. It’ll save you money and be greatly appreciated. Food always tastes better when someone else cooks it.

Appropriate for: Your husband/wife/significant other

Do Chores or Errands They Hate

My wife hates doing laundry so in our household I do laundry every week. Likewise I hate ironing so she does the ironing.

But there are still things I absolutely hate doing that I’ll still do because, well, someone has to do them. I’ll wash the cars, or worse, wax the cars. I don’t particularly enjoy doing it, but I do it.

One of the best gifts my wife gives me throughout the year is stepping up to do a chore that I normally do. She’ll knock out the laundry during a stressful week, or she’ll completely dominate the dirt on our vehicles. It’s awesome.

Likewise you can do the same for someone this holiday season. Offer to do something they hate. It can be something that happens right now during the dark days of winter, or it can be a kind of “I owe you” in another season.

You can increase the appreciation of this gift if you also pay for them to do something relaxing while you do the chore. It can be simple like drawing your wife a bath, or more in depth like sending them out to the spa or to the movies. Add to it as your budget sees fit.

Appropriate for: anyone with chores

Are you scrambling out there before the holidays or are all your gifts perfectly wrapped and under the tree?

{ 2 comments }

Chris @ SmartPF.com December 23, 2010 at 7:43 am

I was actually able to get all of my Christmas shopping done ahead of time this year. Thanks for the list. Perhaps I’ll use it next year. 🙂

Golfing Girl December 23, 2010 at 8:04 pm

My husband and I often do the dinner date at home. We look at online menus from fancy places and figure out what we’d order if we went there, and then try to find recipes for those items and make it at home. It saves a bundle!

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