There is something of a thrill to getting your holiday shopping done at the last minute. There is a rush of adrenaline, wondering if you’ll find the perfect gift as you rush up and down the aisles of different stores, followed by a huge sigh of relief and sense of accomplishment when you pick up the prize you’ve been searching for.
Last minute gifts can and should be be easy gifts. While the thrill of the hunt is fun, there is a risk that you won’t end up with what you want. If you have a few solid last minute ideas in the back of your mind, you can breeze through the last of you holiday shopping knowing that you’re set if you don’t find that limited edition whatchmacalit.
For bakers and cooks, or those who are reasonably likely to spend some time in the kitchen, a cookbook is a great and easy to find gift idea. The Baking Bites Cookbook (which I would recommend with priority shipping from here on out!) is a great one, as are others I’ve mentioned before. A food-related book, like an Anthony Bourdain book or a Ruth Reichel memoir, is a bit better than a cookbook for someone who would rather eat than work in the kitchen. Julie & Julia on DVD should be easy to find in stores, as well.
Pair any of these gifts with some spatulas, measuring cups, whisks or other common kitchen tools. Cookie cutters, a set of cake decorating tips and a pack of muffin cups are great for a baker. An inexpensive pairing knife, potato peeler or even a jar opener can work well for someone who leans more towards baking than cooking.
One other last minute idea I always recommend is a gift certificate for a cooking class. These are often available at specialty food stores, like Sur La Table or Williams-Sonoma, and are well-worth the investment to have some professional coaching on making some great dishes.
For those who simply like food, I would opt for a gift of homemade goodies. A plate of cookies or a box of cupcakes is always a welcome gift, and when your giftee knows that you put the time into creating them yourself, it makes them a lot more special than a box of cupcakes from a bakery (even a really good bakery). Choose any kind you like, but if you don’t have a favorite chocolate chip recipe, a seasonal batch of Chocolate Gingersnaps or Orange and Clove Snowballs is a great option.
If you use priority shipping, you can still mail out edible Christmas gifts (click here for ideas) to far-off recipients without a problem. Just take care to pack them up properly so that they arrive tasting just as good as when they left.
Pair any of these gifts with a seasonal gift plate or a pair of seasonal mugs. If you know that your recipient likes coffee, pick up a package of a popular blend. If he or she prefers tea, there are some great holiday blends out there to choose from. A little something extra really rounds out the gift and, since plates and things last longer than cookies, your recipient will be thinking of you long after that last crumb is gone.