5 Fun and Frugal Last Minute Christmas Gifts for 2020

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Last minute Christmas gifts can be hard to find. I share some of my go-to last minute Christmas gift ideas that won't break your budget.

It’s not too late to still get a great Christmas gift for your loved one on a budget. There are many last minute Christmas gift ideas that will make anyone on your list happy.

If you’ve waited around to buy Christmas gifts then the time to act on getting that Christmas gift is now. Don’t panic, you want to stick to your budget. You can buy something affordable and purchase last minute Christmas gifts that will make the person you’re shopping for happy.

Thankfully there’s several ways you can buy a gift from the convenience of your own house through sites like Amazon. If nothing piques your interest on our list, visit Amazon’s Holiday Gifting Hub for more awesome ideas.

Affordable Last Minute Christmas Gifts


This list is not exhaustive, but should provide you some ideas on what you can purchase. If you’re looking for more specific ideas, I’ve also written on great Christmas gift ideas for your wife if you need help coming up with other ideas.

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Here are five affordable, but fun last minute Christmas gifts to purchase for anyone on your list.

1. Amazon Fire TV Stick


The Fire TV Stick is a great last minute Christmas gift idea for the tech person in your life. This is especially if they’ve cut cable recently.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick offers a simple way to stream content to your TV. You can stream content from numerous apps like HBO NOW, Netflix, and ESPN.

If the recipient wants something a little more robust, the Amazon Fire TV Cube is good option to consider.

The Fire TV devices make such good last minute Christmas gifts because they help them save money year-round. And, it provides access to hours of entertainment.

2. Coffee


If you’re looking for cheap last minute Christmas gift ideas, look no further than coffee as a gift. If you live with or are related to a coffee lover, then brew up some joy for them with the gift of coffee.

Don’t limit yourself to just coffee; give a travel or coffee mug or a gift card to your local coffee shop.

My wife loves coffee and if I am desperate for some last minute Christmas gifts a coffee gift card always works in a pinch. 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, read our Christmas gift ideas for kids post – each one is $25 or less!**

If you’re thinking of coffee as an option, a bag of Peet’s coffee is usually a good choice and one my wife always enjoys.

Does your loved on hate coffee, but loves tea? This gift set from Tea Forte has been a big hit with my wife and other family members that love tea.

3. Gift Sets


Since I’m not a fan of Christmas shopping I look for gifts that make it easy on me but also receive several gifts in one. That’s where a gift set comes in for last minute Christmas gifts. You can either make one on your own, or purchase one that is pre-made.

If you’re looking for Christmas gift ideas for your husband then one to consider is this hot sauce gift set from Zombie Cajun. This is an inexpensive set that provides good variety for the hot sauce lover. It looks great to me and something I’ve asked my wife for.

*Related: Overwhelmed with buying for your kids? Check out our guide on the 4 gift rule for Christmas to help manage your Christmas shopping*

If you’re looking for that special woman in your life then consider this Burt’s Bees Essential Everyday Beauty Kit. I’ve bought it for my wife in the past and she loved it.

4. Digital Photo Frame


If you’re like my family you have a lot of pictures on your phone but have dozens you’d love to display at home, That is where a digital picture frame comes in as one of the best last minute Christmas gifts to buy.

They can vary in price, though have found the Nix Advance 8-inch Digital Photo Frame to offer a good value.

We love ours as it allows us to display a number of pictures of our kids without having to pick just one. If you use Amazon, this is an excellent last minute Christmas idea for the photo lover in your life.

If you find the Nix Advance not to meet your needs, here are some of the top rated digital photo frames on Amazon that will work.

5. Gift Cards


Gift cards are fun last minute Christmas gifts as it lets the recipient love to receive them so they can buy something they want.

My favorite hack is to buy discounted gift cards online and have an e-card sent to the recipient. If that’s not an option, you can purchase a gift card from many retailers on Amazon.

Simply type in “gift cards” on Amazon and you can see the different options they sell. Most of the retailers offer cards in $25 increments.




Remember, when you look for last minute Christmas gift ideas that it’s the thought that counts. It’s easy to think you must spend a lot of money to give a meaningful gift. That’s a myth!

Instead, look for creative ways to show that special someone you love them without going into debt. If they truly care for you they don’t want you to go into debt for a gift.


How important is cost to you when shopping for holiday presents? Do you have a Christmas gift budget?

*Capital One Shopping compensates us when you sign up for Capital One Shopping using the links provided.


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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.

Latest posts by John Schmoll (see all)


  • Kim@Eyesonthedollar says:

    Great tips, John. I also found out that You can do Redbox gift certificates.that and a box of popcorn would be a great gift.

  • Marissa @ Thirtysixmonths says:

    I didn’t actually think of tablet apps before. That’s interesting/cheap gift idea.

  • Michelle says:

    My work Christmas party is actually TOMORROW and I completely forgot to buy any gifts. I plan on going to some good restaurants and getting them certificates to there.

    • John says:

      I imagine gifts for the office was the first thing on your mind while in St. Thomas. πŸ˜‰ Restaurant gift cards are always a good gift.

  • Pauline says:

    A subscription in general is a great idea. My grandfather has been subscribed to natgeo for 40 years and renewing his subscription is an easy no brainer gift.

  • Catherine says:

    I’m done my shopping Whoo! If I forget a gift I usually opt for a giftcard if they’re not yet of age or a bottle of wine/booze some sort if they are. Restaurant gift certificates are always well received too.

    • John says:

      Awesome! I finished mine a week or two as well. Restaurant gift cards are never a bad idea. We love them because it’s one less night that we have to cook.

  • Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter says:

    Creative list! I have never thought of giving someone apps before. I will have to keep that in mind. Coffee and wine are always winners in my books.

    • John says:

      Thanks Miss T! I had never thought of them either, but my wife suggested it. I agree, we always like getting a nice bottle of wine.

  • Jordann @ My Alternate Life says:

    I’m thankfully done with my Christmas shopping. I only need to get one more thing which is, funnily enough, coffee. These are all great gift ideas! I was initially a little sceptical about getting a Netflix subscription since I’m usually against subscribing people for things, but since it’s month to month with no commitment, they can opt out easily. Good post!

    • John says:

      Thanks Jordann! I am usually against subscribing people as well, but Netflix is great with the month to month arrangement. I am done as well, it’s a great feeling.

  • DC @ Young Adult Money says:

    These are all great last minute gift ideas. I definitely would be happy with coffee, wine, or gift cards! In fact I would prefer gift cards over any other gift, and that’s all I asked for this year.

  • Joanna @ Our Freaking Budget says:

    Oh, these are perfect. My husband and I have been lazy gift givers in the past, and our poor families have been showered with gift cards. But this year we resolved to not give out a single gift card! The thing is, despite putting in more effort this year, I think our families would have liked the gift cards just as much πŸ˜‰

    • John says:

      Thanks Joanna! It can be hard to determine whether or not to give out gift cards because they can seem impersonal. But, I’d much rather have that and get something I want as opposed to some random thing.

  • Grayson @ Debt Roundup says:

    These are all good last minutes gifts. I forgot about the Netflix subscription, but I have it and love it. I use gift cards as regular gifts that I purchase early. They are easy and most people like them.

  • Lyn @ Pretty Frugal says:

    I’ve given Netflix subscriptions in the past and they are always a hit! I love a good gift card also, especially if they are thoughtful enough to make it to a place I go all the time. I’ve gotten upscale gift cards in the past and never used them because it was a hassle to find something I wanted that wouldn’t just be ‘discounted’ by using the amount on the gift card!

    • John says:

      It is much nicer when the gift card is to a store you normally frequent, that makes it much easier to get something you want. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Holly@ClubThrifty says:

    I think that gift cards are awesome gifts!!! That is by far my favorite thing to get aside from plain old cash!

  • Mackenzie says:

    These are great tips! And I’m with your wife: a gift card for coffee is A-okay in my book πŸ™‚

    • John says:

      Thanks Mackenzie! A coffee gift card is seriously one of the first things I get my wife. They way she likes them you’d think I bought her a diamond ring.

  • Christopher @ This that and the MBA says:

    I love the cheap plug. I am thankful that my wife has done most of our shopping. We had one big crash day where we went to town. I do have to get a few things for my wife but they are things I know that they will have in stock so I am not too worried.

    • John says:

      Glad you liked it Christopher. πŸ˜‰ We do most of our shopping online as I hate going out to do it. I just finished for my wife a week or so ago, glad it’s done!

  • Retire By 40 says:

    How about some toys? We went to the museum gift shop and there were some cool toys there. πŸ™‚

  • Kyle James | says:

    Great tips. Love the Netflix idea, maybe pay for the first couple months. Cool way for the recipient to try it out. Small world, I just did a similar post to yours this morning.

    • John says:

      Thanks Kyle! That was my exact thought with Netflix. It’s rather frugal and it doesn’t clutter up a house with extra “stuff”. Great minds think alike I guess. πŸ˜‰ I’ll pop over to your post to check it out.

  • Michelle says:

    My husband and I had a cute idea for frugal Christmas presents a few years ago. We went to the dollar store and bought baskets, cloth bistro napkins, coffee mugs, and small jars of jam. We lined the basket with the napkins, added a bag of premium coffee, two mugs per basket, and the jams. I can’t remember what other little items we put in each, but they were really cute and probably cost less than $20 apiece. Everyone loved them.

    • John says:

      That sounds like an awesome gift idea Michelle! Plus, there’s the added benefit of some solid time put in to get the gift all together, which is a bonus is my book as a recipient.

  • Cat says:

    I am basically done – now I just need to do some wrapping!

  • Joe Cassandra says:

    Gift cards are always the easiest not just for last minute, but also for if you don’t know what to get them! (my parents…)

    • John says:

      I feel the same way Joe. They can be very convenient at any time of the shopping season. If they’re to places you like then they’re even better.

  • Boris says:

    These are great last minute ideas. You can never go wrong with coffee. I always get stuff that’s not needed in the household, and it’s always recycled to someone else!

  • Savvy Scot says:

    Some good last minute tips! That said, Amazon are still delivering for orders received before the MORNING of Christmas eve in the UK can you believe that!?!?!

  • Canadianbudgetbinder says:

    Lots of great ideas here. We like to give and get gift cards ourselves so we can get what we want but wait for it to go on sale thus making the card potentially go further. πŸ™‚ On a good note, we are done shopping!! Happy Holidays mate! Mr.CBB

    • John says:

      Thanks Mr. CBB! That’s a great point to wait and use them when you can take advantage of a sale, we like to do that as well. It does feel good to be done shopping, doesn’t it?

  • Daisy @ Money Smart Guides says:

    One time, as a last minute gift, I got the giftee a gift basket full of their favorite foods from the grocery store. It was great because the grocery store was open, and the gift showed that I did put some thought into it because I knew her favorites. Plus, it’s nice not to have to worry about grocery shopping at least for a little bit!

    • John says:

      That sounds like a great idea Daisy! My brother likes to try new and different foods and we may do something like that for him in a future year.

  • Veronica @ Pelican on Money says:

    I like the coffee gift idea as I’m a big coffee lover. I’m such a lazy gift giver that I typically do everything last moment. In fact, I still haven’t gotten all the gift shopping done! Typically, my last minute gift is a gift card… I know how creative is that, right? πŸ™‚

    • John says:

      We’re big coffee lovers too, so it’s always a hit for us. I like gift cards to, sure not very creative…but always loved on my part.

  • Felix Lee says:

    Great ideas. I love receiving wine so it follows that I like giving them as gifts as well. Gifts cards are my go-to gift when I don’t know what to get someone or don’t have time. It’s so convenient. I’ve never thought about giving apps though. That’s a good idea I should try this Christmas.

  • Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin says:

    We just gave my parents a year subscription of Netflix. It is perfect for them because they’re not caught up with the latest and greatest movies/TV shows. So now they have an entire year to get caught up =)

  • JP @ 20's Finances says:

    I love these ideas. Definitely ones I hadn’t thought about. Tea would also be a good substitute for coffee.

    I try and avoid gift cards thought. I think a prepaid card or money is more useful. It’s less likely to sit around collecting dust.

    • John says:

      Tea is a great idea as well. Money is always a good gift idea. Though, I now that prepaid cash cards can have issues being used at different places, so I’d go with the cash.

  • Justin says:

    I just got my dad, who is a big time golfer, a golf ball of the month membership. The company sent me a PDF personalized message in an e-mail and they his first shipment will arrive on January 1. LIFESAVER! The company was called birdie-life.

  • lyle @ The Joy of Simple says:

    Nicely done John πŸ™‚

    A bunch of years ago I decided to not buy any gifts for my adult friends. It just seemed a whole lot easier that way. I do however, buy their kids gift certificates for local coffee shops where they can get a hot chocolate and yummy treat. This surprisingly is a hit with all the kids as they can feel like an “adult” when ordering on their own dime as it were.

    So gift certificates for me are huge!!

    Thanks again for an enjoyable read and take care.

    All the best to you and yours over the holidays.


    • John says:

      Thanks Lyle! Yea, we basically only shop for the kids as well and you’re right on about the gift cards. Hope you have a wonderful Holiday as well!

  • Steve Adcock says:

    Don’t forget the gift of experiences, either. If you know Spanish and someone wants to learn it, offer to teach them. Get a little bit creative and thinking about what you could personally do for them and avoid perpetuating the swapping of “stuff” for Christmas.

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