Last Minute Presents

December 23, 2011 § Leave a comment


It’s Christmas Eve tomorrow, a time to relax with the family in front of It’s A Wonderful Life, preferably with a fire roaring in the grate, a glass of mulled wine in one hand and some gingerbread in the other.

But for most of us, there’ll be the mad crush of relatives arriving, cooking for a million people, shepherding children high on candy canes, and last minute gift-wrapping … or buying.

No judgement, of course: we’re all busy, and Cousin Julie’s really hard to buy for, or you might have been surprised by your nephew turning up with girlfriend in tow – either way, you’re down a present or two.

But a Christmas Eve mad dash around the shops is hugely time-consuming, and likely to make you go bat crazy. And you should really be enjoying that mulled wine. So, here is Lola’s link guide to easy last minute presents, budget-conscious and needing nothing you won’t find at your local corner shop.

1)      Vouchers. Maybe not so personal, but these are nevertheless always appreciated – and when the excitement of the other presents has faded, your teenage granddaughter will be able to pick herself out a nice pair of shoes. Many vouchers are the sort you can print out, or will be sent to the recipient’s email address, so you don’t even have to stray outside of the house.

The only con – they can see exactly how much you spent on them, so you might feel like you have to splash out more on a fairly distant family member.

Try these stores:

Agent Provocateur (lingerie)


ASOS (for any fashion lover, girl or boy)

Dawanda (an Etsy-esque site with an especially good contingent of mainland European designers. So many fantastically original products from a Mongolian ger to colourful bowls, and I’ve had nothing but good experiences)

Firebox (fun gadgets et cetera)

Kiva (enables the recipient to make a micro-loan to someone in the developing world – a gift that really does give) (oh the irony)

LOVEFiLM (online film rental site)

Play (especially good for DVDs, CDs et cetera, but they also carry other products)

SpaFinder (can be redeemed at thousands of spas worldwide, including over 600 in the UK)

8ball (amusing t shirts, including Banksy designs for the edgy artists among you).

2) Okay, you’re probably spending enough time in the kitchen over the next couple of days as it is, but these little foodie gifts should take less than ten minutes:

  • The fabulous Design Mom linked to: this easy way to jazz up plain baubles (a great gift for someone hosting you on the big day); give a sweet little saucepan (do you know anyone just buying or renting their first property/moving away?); these labels would look beautiful on a jar of homemade spread, quickly whipped up cookie mix (keep refrigerated), or even just some repackaged, store-bought hot chocolate powder (they’ll never know! Give some marshmallows and a chocolate stirrer or lolly, and call it a set).
  • Aliesha over at Feathers in Our Nest shared the recipe for this hand scrub, and all you need is sugar, vanilla extract and some old jars!
  • Find a new mug, fill with chocolates – pricey ones, or even just Maltesers. Simple.
  • Fill a gift box with ziplock bags of measured out ingredients – flour, sugar, raisins, whatever – and a recipe card. Include everything they need, bar wet ingredients, eggs and butter. You could even include a cake tin!

3) Give them a subscription to their favourite magazine – this can usually be done online, and will of course last the whole year.

4) Remember that gifts don’t have to be material things. Isn’t the spirit of the season, after all, family togetherness? Make a sweet little faux-voucher offering your services as a babysitter to the friend with a new baby, or promise children to take them out to the cinema, a musical, the beach, a theme park, dinner, whatever you have in your neck of the woods, sometime later in the year, and the Christmas magic will continue that little bit longer.

And here are some simple, colourful gift tags for all these last minute pressies, courtesy of Dawanda.

Have a wonderful Christmas,

Lola x


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