5 Fun and Frugal Last Minute Christmas Gifts

Last Minute Christmas Gifts

As the calendar fell this year, we lost a week in between Thanksgiving and Christmas which means the increases the chances that many are still scrambling to purchase last minute Christmas gifts. If you’re in that boat, then perhaps some of these ideas will prove helpful for a Christmas gift…

I have to let you in on a secret…Christmas is just in a few days! If you’ve waited around to buy Christmas gifts then you have five days left, including today, to get that last minute gift. Luckily, you can find Christmas gifts for moms, dads, siblings and other loved ones online. Don’t panic, you can still be frugal and get last minute Christmas gifts that will make both your wallet and the person you’re shopping for happy. I’ve written about my disdain for going out shopping at this time of year, and thankfully there’s several ways a person like me can still buy a gift from the convenience of your own house. While some of the gifts might require you to actually go out and fight the crowds, they’ll still score you some great last minute Christmas gifts. My list is not meant to be exhaustive, but to give you some ideas on what you can possibly purchase.

Gift Cards Make Great Last Minute Christmas Gifts 

I know for some that a gift card is a no-go in terms of gift giving, but that’s a topic for a different place and time. Part of the reason that gift cards make great last minute Christmas gifts is that you can get them almost anywhere. You can buy them online or in store. I know shipping is an issue at this time of the year and if you’re like me you won’t want to pay an exorbitant price to ship with two day shipping but there is a solution. Many online retailers now offer you the choice to buy an electronic gift card and it gets delivered to the recipient’s email inbox. Not bad at all in my opinion. If that’s not an option, you can even get a gift card at your local grocery store. Many will sell gift cards for numerous national brands and restaurants.


If you’re looking for last minute Christmas gift ideas, look no further than coffee as a possible Christmas gift. If you live with or are related to a coffee lover, then brew up some joy for them with a gift of coffee. Don’t limit yourself to just coffee; give a travel or coffee mug or even a gift card to your local coffee shop. My wife loves coffee and if I am in the pinch for some last minute Christmas gifts than I need look no further than a coffee gift card. You’d think I bought her a diamond with how much she loves them.

Related: If you’re still looking for a gift for that child in your life, check out my Christmas gift ideas for kids post.


The great thing about wine is that you really can spend as much or as little as you want. Now, I wouldn’t recommend stuffing a bottle of Two Buck Chuck into a stocking, but you can still be frugal and buy wine as a gift. You can spend as little as $10 or $20 on a nice bottle of wine for the wine lover in your family. A helpful hint on wine buying – Costco has some excellent deals on wine for its members.

Tablet Apps

With the growing popularity of tablets there are many gifts you can buy for those you know with a tablet. These last minute Christmas gifts are perfect for children or adults. If you’re looking for your child, there are a wide variety of apps that are both educational and game-oriented that they would have great fun with. If you’re looking for that hard-to-buy parent or other adult you can buy e-subscriptions to a favorite magazine or a book. The great thing about apps as last minute Christmas gifts is that it can be done in a matter of minutes.

Netflix Subscription

Who doesn’t love a good movie? I know that pretty much everyone has heard of Netflix, but it is one of the great last minute Christmas ideas out there. The signup is relatively stress free and can be done straight from your computer. It allows you to be frugal yet still give a great gift that the movie lover will like. The great thing is that their plans are month-to-month which allows the recipient to see if it’s something they’d like to continue to keep once the subscription runs out. If you’re not a Netflix fan, you could accomplish something similar with a subscription to Amazon Prime for that Amazon lover in your family.


There are many last minute Christmas gifts you can buy that will not bust your budget and still leave the recipient happy. Are you done with your Christmas shopping, or will be looking for some last minute Christmas gifts yourself?


Photo courtesy of: Weliton Slima


*Post updated from original on December 20, 2012

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. If you're wanting to grow your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.


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