We all have our moments of forgetfulness, or sometimes you just need a last minute gift for a relative’s significant other that’s attending a family party, a friend’s plus one, an office gift exchange, or an acquaintance that bestowed an unexpected present. Instead of grabbing a gift card (how impersonal), flowers, a bottle of wine, or simply hoping they won’t notice your gaffe, get prepared ahead of time.
Keeping a shelf (or storage bin in your closet, etc.) filled with last minute gift ideas will totally save you and make you seem like the put-together maestro that you are. Here are some options that will work for most situations:
Portable Chargers – Now that virtually everyone has a smartphone or tablet, they need to charge it. And outlets aren’t always handy, or it might not be convenient to stay by the outlet and babysit your charging devices. These colorful chargers do the trick nicely!
Designer Water Bottles Or Mugs – We all need to stay hydrated, and it is much nicer and more eco-friendly when you have a sleek thermos, metal, or glass water bottle in a favorite color or pattern. We like the ones from S’well from the MOMA store, especially the gold and silver versions.
Scarves Of All Kinds – Everyone can always use another scarf, whether it is plush cashmere, elegant silk or simple cotton. Bonus points if it is big enough to use as a travel or office blanket, and double bonus points if you know your giftee’s wardobe’s color palette or favorite colors (ask their friends, observe them at work, or if you don’t see them regularly, try checking out their Facebook or Instagram for ideas). That said, this C By Bloomingdales cashmere fringe scarf (it also comes in a non-fringed and an infinity version) comes in vibrant brights and neutrals that would work with most wardrobes.
Delicious Scented Candles – Nothing like having your home smell wonderful with a minimum of effort, these are also a great hostess gifts. Pick candles with gorgeous packaging to add to the experience, like this stunning set from Diptyque.
Umbrellas – People are unlikely to buy themselves a fancy umbrella, but one certainly can brighten a rainy day. And a sturdy umbrella like this black and white golf version by Totes can make all the difference between surviving a downpour relatively unscathed versus being drenched when a cheap umbrella is too small, breaks or otherwise fails.
Cool Socks – Socks are usually an afterthought to an ensemble, and most people don’t bother to think about their socks beyond whether or not they match and perhaps if they are warm enough. However, a pair of cashmere or wool socks in a bold color or pattern with some personality can brighten anyone’s day, and most people are unlikely to splurge on a pair themselves. Uniqlo has a variety of patterns for both men and women – pick up a bunch and liven up your giftee’s outfits.
Luxe Lotions Or Hand Creams – Another item that can be a wonderful treat, especially in cold weather when almost everyone has dry skin. Hint – keep the fragrance neutral unless you know your recipient has a specific favorite scent; something like the L’occitane, the gold standard of hand creams would be perfect. You also add on lip balm, travel size versions, exfoliating scrubs, and other coordinating products to round out the gift.
Texting Or Fingerless Gloves – These are always useful in the winter if you live in a cold climate. In fact, gloves are some of the easiest things to lose or leave behind in a restaurant or cab – so you can never have too many pairs of warm, tech-friendly gloves, like these American Apparel fingerless gloves.
Fun Cooking Utensils – We’re talking the one-use appliances that most people won’t buy for themselves, like Spiralizers, interesting attachments if you know they have and use a KitchenAid mixer or similar, creative cookie cutters or muffin tins, a pretty mortar and pestle like this one from Williams Sonoma, a set of coordinating glass containers or a bento box if they bring meals to work, etc. The sky’s the limit!
Granted, you don’t necessarily need to keep a closet full of “spare gifts”, unless you are the modern day Martha Stewart (in which case we are in awe of your organization and planning skills), but it can be good to have some basic ideas in mind next time you need to grab a last minute gift, pick up something for a Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange, or just want to keep some potential presents on hand.
2. S’Well Water Bottle, $35
5. Women Hrattech Socks 2 Pairs (Snow), $12.90
6. Uniqlo Women Hrattech Socks 2 Pairs (Snow), $12.90
7. L’occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream, $12-$28
– Jacqueline Zenn
Image Layout: Fountain Of 3o