29 Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Frantic Shoppers

29 Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Frantic Shoppers

If you’re searching for last-minute gift ideas, I promise you’re not alone. Sure, you had the past two months to shop for holiday gifts. You’ve been pummeled by an endless array of gift guides (guilty!), Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals, and Instagram ads reminding you that the clock is ticking to get something good for your significant other, your mom, your best friend, etc. But the holiday season is known for rushing past in a single blink of Rudolph’s red nose, and it’s understandable that you just didn’t get around to your shopping until…now.

The gift ideas below are especially good because they’ll work for just about anyone. So if you’re worried you forgot someone but can’t quite remember who you forgot, it won’t hurt to stockpile two or three of these and keep them on hand through the holiday season. Many of these gifts can be purchased on Amazon, or have guaranteed delivery before Christmas if you order ASAP.

Italian baked goods

Nothing says Christmas quite like a panettone, or a giant platter of Italian bakery cookies, and Goldbelly offers nationwide shipping for some of the best. If you want to spice up your family’s holiday gathering with a little debate, order a tray of cookies from two of NYC’s most beloved bakeries: Veniero’s and Ferrara’s. I, for one, have been a Ferrara’s girl since birth, and would much rather argue over cookies than politics.

Ferrara Bakery Italian Cookie Tray

Veniero’s Assorted Cookie Tray

Olivieri 1882 Classic Panettone

Settepani Restaurant & Bakery Traditional Milanese Panettone

Our favorite non-alcoholic cocktail kit

Even cocktail lovers can appreciate the complex flavors of Ghia’s non-alcoholic aperitifs, which is why their First Sip Kit makes a great one-size-fits-all last-minute gift idea. It comes with a variety pack of their canned spritzes and a bottle of their berry-flavored aperitif, and is especially great for new parents or the sober-curious people in your friend group.

A connoisseur-worthy coffee subscription

Food subscriptions make great gifts because you don’t have to worry about gift wrap, and your giftee will reap the rewards for months after the holiday season is over. If I had to pick just one subscription gift to recommend, it would be the Beanbox Coffee of the Month Club. Each month’s selection comes from a different independent roaster, and arrives at peak freshness.

Fly By Jing’s chili crisp bundles

Fly By Jing’s cult-favorite chili crisp is always a great gift idea. It’s the perfect balance of trendy and timeless, and will help make your friend’s lazy weeknight rice cooker dinners feel like a culinary event. If you want to branch out from chili crisp, go for a two-pack of the brand’s Zhong Sauce, which BA’s Food Director Chris Morocco absolutely loves.

A fancy candle

We actually wrote an entire guide to the most giftable candles, but here’s the TLDR: just about everyone loves a fancy candle. If you’re looking for something that’s guaranteed to please and will arrive before Christmas, go for one of these.

NEST Fragrances Birchwood Pine Scented Classic Candle

Snif Holiday Candle Bundle

Apotheke Hinoki Lavender Signature Candle

This duo of BA editor-approved functional chocolates

If you know someone who likes to hop on every wellness trend, they’ll be positively delighted to receive this duo of chocolates from Alice Mushrooms. A few of BA’s editors, myself included, have been testing these, and we’ve all been pleasantly surprised by how quickly we ticked things off our to-do lists when we tried the Brainstorm, and the way we slept like actual babies after a square of Nightcap.

Alice Mushroom Chocolate Duo

An ice cream stash restock

Listen, if someone gifted me ice cream at literally any time of year, I’d be psyched. But if someone gifted me ice cream in the middle of the hectic holiday season so I didn’t have to schlep to the grocery store for a pint to cure the end-of-year blues, I’d be eternally grateful. If you want to give someone the gift of pure happiness, send them one of the assortments. There’s even a great collection of whipped oat milk ice cream for the lactose-averse.

Dolcezza Gelato 4-Pint Holiday Sampler

Whipped Urban Dessert Lab Oat Milk Ice Crème Choose Your Own 4 Pints

Malai Ice Cream Winter Holiday Ice Cream Favorites, 4 Pints

Some luxe hand lotion for the person who does dishes nonstop

The worst part of being an adult is that no matter how often you do the dishes, the dishes are never done. This is especially true during the month of December. For the person on your list who is constantly hosting, a luxe hand cream is a great way to show your appreciation for all the excellent meals they’ve fed you. The key to making a hand lotion feel special and not like an afterthought is to make sure it’s a nice one—like the beloved Chanel La Creme Main.

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

Nécessaire The Hand Cream

King Arthur’s baking school

During the 2020 lockdowns, King Arthur Baking, which has always offered in-person baking classes at their schools in Washington state and Vermont, started hosting live virtual classes over Zoom. Now, they’ve launched an on-demand program that allows you to take their classes remotely at any time. Learn the foundations of homemade pizza, or get a tutorial on pastries like babka and cinnamon rolls with their Brunch Bakes class. The classes smartly teach you master recipes and techniques that can be applied across multiple baking projects, and for a comparably low price of $40 per class, your gift-recipient gets video tutorials, quick technique lessons, a full recipe workbook, and an extensive set of baking tips for each class. The best part, of course, is that this can be purchased on the actual day of your gift exchange, and no one will be the wiser.

A few of our favorite baking essentials

Anyone who bakes often will always appreciate a refresh of the basics, especially after holiday cookie exchanges and breakfast pastries have decimated their pantry. Get them some good vanilla extract, a set of Epi’s favorite sheet pans, or a classic French rolling pin to inspire them to keep things cozy in the kitchen all winter long. Better yet, buy all three and make a cute little baking gift basket.

Nordic Ware Half-Sheet Pan

Heilala Vanilla Bean Paste and Pure Vanilla Extract

J.K. Adams Maple Wood French Dowel Rolling Pin

GQ’s entertaining gift box

Our friends at GQ have curated a box full of their favorite entertaining gear for the holiday season. It includes a lot of stuff for enhancing your holiday dinner party vibe, like candles, luxe hand sanitizers, and incredible-smelling soaps that will make people want to wash their hands for the full requisite 20 minutes (always a plus during cold and flu season). But it also includes some BA-approved food and drink stuff, like a killer cocktail shaker and flaky finishing salts. It’s $228-worth of products for $129 ($79 for GQ box subscribers).

A self-heating mug

When in doubt, a self-heating mug is a gift that says: I want your coffee and/or tea to always be warm, and that means a lot. And if you’re going to gift a self-heating mug, the Ember is the gold standard.

A seasonal favorite chocolate gift

If you need a little something to give your kids’ teacher/babysitter, the coworker who always helps you out when you’re staring down a brutal deadline, or the hot barista you hope to impress every morning, I have two words for you: peppermint bark. I can’t explain why, but peppermint bark makes a perfect gift that does just enough without doing too much. Trust me on this.

Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark Squares Variety Pack

The Original Williams Sonoma Peppermint Bark

Mary Of Puddin Hill Peppermint Bark

Now that you have our last-minute gift ideas, read our full collection of gift guides.

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