December 17, 2021

Ten Days of Gift Guides: Last Minute, No Shipping Gifts

Ten Days of Gift Guides: Last Minute, No Shipping Gifts

Gift-giving seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? You think of what the recipient likes, and then you go buy that thing. Except when packed schedules and the global supply chain makes the process a little more daunting. Fortunately, there are still plenty of options for the busy (but thoughtful) gift-giver. Here are some last-minute gift ideas for the holidays, from the mundane to the extravagant, including how and where to find them.

Adventure Experiences

Where to buyLocal rock-climbing gyms, aerial arts, fitness studios, adventure parks.

Has your sister-in-law always wanted to learn rock-climbing? Do your kids’ eyes light up at the sight or mention of aerial arts? Did you know you can go skydiving indoors? Adventure experiences (both indoors and outdoors) for different age groups are a fun option to mix things up, move our bodies, and safely get out of the house. 

Subscription Boxes

Where to buy: Various websites.

A category completely on their own, subscription boxes deliver new products every month (or three) and there’s one for nearly any interest. Popular choices include book boxes based on category and genre; boxes for beverage enthusiasts (beer, wine, coffee, or tea); and beauty boxes for make-up and skincare. There’s even a quarterly subscription for easy-care plants. Subscriptions can be customized to the people’s preferences or simply be a pleasant surprise. There are so many to choose from, it’s hard to go wrong.

Beauty & Spa Services

Where to buy:  Salons, spas.

If a special someone in your life regularly gets massages, manicures, micro needling, and other beauty/spa service (or wishes to), this can be an amazing gift. Buy a gift certificate to their preferred establishment, or go with a chain like Massage Envy or Hand & Stone if a more personalized choice isn’t possible. If you’re feeling particularly spendy, look into traveling massage therapists. Don’t forget to tip!

Classes and Museum Memberships 

Where to buy:  Museums, community centers, various websites.

Places like local museums, learning labs, and makerspaces—where people go to learn new skills and even work on projects—offer classes and memberships for various ages and make for interesting experiences that last over time. There are also online sources like Skillshare, which offers classes on a broad array of topics, and MasterClass, which offer recorded sessions by the people most famous in their fields. Increasingly, experts in every subject are making content available for others to learn.


Where to buy:  Gaming stores, bookstores, big box stores.

Games make excellent gifts because they’re tangible objects that also provide experiences, and because most people, barring the most enthusiastic gamers, don’t think to buy games for themselves. You can go with the classic board-game-version-of-a-favorite-show (Schitt’s Creek Monopoly or Clue: The Office, anyone?). For video gamers, a gaming subscription for their chosen system is a simple but welcome gift—all those subscriptions can really add up!

Visual Art

Where to buy:  Local galleries and art collectives, museum gift stores, flea markets, antique malls, skate shops.

While paintings, prints, and sculptures are a nice addition to pretty much any home, visual art also includes clothing, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, skateboards, and more. Art is a surprise hit for the folks in our lives who appreciate lovely, well-crafted items—or even those who could use an interesting sweater or wind chime. Live in style and feel good about supporting the arts!

Personalized Video

Where to buy:

This might be a weird one, but it takes all kinds. If your loved one is in total awe of any particular celebrity or online personality, a personalized video might just be the dark horse of a gift that outshines all the others. The most popular remains Cameo, where you can pay movie and sitcom stars, former child actors, YouTubers, athletes, musicians, and anyone else famous enough to have fans will record a short video, often on the subject of your choosing. There are even user reviews, for those who are still skeptical.


Where to buy:  Schools, large grocery stores, pharmacy chains, various websites.

For the super-last-minute gift giver who still yearns to make an emotional impact, this one takes a little strategy. Capitalize on your family member’s pride in their school, hometown, or state and help them express their undying sentimentality with a souvenir from that beloved place. This could be a sweatshirt, blanket, hat, pair of socks, mug, desk figurine, or a combination thereof. Combine with a favorite tea, coffee, baked good, and/or helpful gift card (see #11) to further match their life and personality. The more elements you can layer, the better.

Replaceable Household Goods

Where to buy:  Big box stores, home goods stores, bargain outlets.

How many of us have found ourselves suddenly having to stop everything and search for a universally-owned item we swore we owned, only to find it mysteriously vanished or broken? Help someone else furnish their own life (or just avoid low-level catastrophe) with a practical household item. Who couldn’t use an extra umbrella, bedsheet, salad bowl, serving platter, charging station, or handheld vacuum cleaner? Go for a high-quality or especially cool-looking item, and when the qualifying incident inevitably comes up, your gift will have saved the day.

Gift card to EarPeace

Where to buy: here.

Know someone in your life who could really use EarPeace, but aren't sure what level of hearing protection they might need? An EarPeace gift card is the perfect solution. If presentation is important, top it off with a card, bow, flower, or box. Although you can be sure that even without the cute wrapping, this kind of gift will be the among their favorite.

Looking for something you can overnight? Try our Traveler gift guide and our gift guide for the Sports fan

Related articles

If It Brings You Fear
EarPeace Blogs If It Brings You Fear

What Creatives Can Learn from Anthony Bourdain

Read more