5 of the Best Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Holiday Procrastinators

December 15, 2019, 12:00 PM UTC

Time’s running short.

It’s about this time during the holiday season when panic starts to set in for many people. The holidays are barreling down on us, and a look at the closet shows they’re nowhere close to being done with shopping.

It might seem at this late hour that sentimental and heartfelt is a concept that’s out the window, but it doesn’t have to be that way. While there are the usual last-minute gift tropes—gift cards, lottery tickets, a bottle of whatever wine you could find at the grocery or liquor store—you still have a chance to shine. Here are some ideas that can add a touch of personalization to your last minute gift and make you a holiday hero.



In a digital age, it’s easy to overlook the stacks of old print photos lying around, but those memories are just as important as the ones on our phone—and often, even more so. They’re also, in some ways, more fragile, since there’s no backup for them. Digitizing several albums is intimidating because of the time commitment (assuming you even have a scanner).. ScanMyPhotos is an online service that does the job for you—and does so with a remarkable turnaround time. The company sends a prepaid postage box, which is all you have to hand over as the gift. Customers can load as many pictures as they want. Approximately a week or so later, you’ll get the photos returned, as well as scanned versions on a CD or USB. Need negatives or slides or even old 8mm or VHS tapes digitized instead? That’s also in the company’s wheelhouse. Suggested Retail Price: $145


lego star wars

Whether you’re buying for a child or adult, a good Lego set can be a resounding success. And, even better, they’re easy to find. In 2019, the company put out a number of new and innovative sets worthy of consideration, ranging from the Lego Disney Train and Station set ($330), which uses motors and sensors in the bricks to let fans build a device that doesn’t just sit there when they’re done, but is functional, adding a new level of playability to an augmented reality-enhanced line of products called Lego Hidden Side ($20 and up) to the ever-popular Star Wars line. This year’s must-have item for fans is the 4,700-piece Imperial Star Destroyer, which measures over 14” high and 43” long (though it costs a whopping $700). SRP: Varies, depending on the set.

Streaming service subscription

Criterion Channel

While some people like an adventure, such as an Escape Room or night on the town, others would vastly prefer to just relax at home. If you’ve got an introvert on your list, consider a one-year subscription to a streaming service they might not already subscribe to. Whether it’s one of the major services, such as Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, or something more obscure, like BritBox (for fans of British television), Shudder (a service dedicated to horror movies), or The Criterion Channel (with a deep catalog of films you can’t find elsewhere), there’s something for every couch potato. SRP: Starts at $70 for an entire year of coverage.

Wüsthof knives

Wüsthof CLASSIC 7-inch Hollow Edge Craftsman

Some people putter around the kitchen. Some thrive in it. If you’re shopping for a would-be chef, a good set of knives is a great way to make an impression. The Wüsthof brand is a superior choice if you’re not sure where to start. Regularly ranked among the best in the world, they hold a razor sharp edge even when heavily used and have a good heft. Not sure which one to buy? Consider the 7-inch Hollow Edge Craftsman, which fits comfortably in the hand and makes food prep a breeze. SRP: $162

Heifer International

Heifer International

For the person who has everything, the best gift is often helping someone else out. Heifer International is a charitable organization that strives to eliminate poverty and world hunger, providing animals to villages to supply a variety of goods. (Sheep, for instance, can bring in income from their wool and provide clothing.) A donation to the charity can be everything from the full price of animal ($20 to $500) to a shared portion ($10 or more). It’s a way to help others celebrate the generosity of the season.

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—5 cocktail trends to watch in 2020
—The 10 best business books of 2019
—These designers created a pan that can replace most of your cookware by itself
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