Last minute gift ideas

With Christmas right around the corner, the mad dash to the mall is on. For many it is crunch time to check off the final items off their gift list, get them wrapped, and placed under the tree or delivered in time for December 25. The holidays usually present a shopping frenzy, which is why it is understandable many people put off the madness until the last minute.

One up side to procrastination is many retailers offer more promotions and special offers than they did in past weeks. In fact, 23% of consumers surveyed by Discover said that they'll wait for last minute holiday deals.

Finding the perfect gift at the last minute may be difficult, but there are some ways to ease the tension.

Buy gift cards. Gift cards are great gift options for all occasions. You can either choose a gift card from the recipient’s favorite store or a generic gift card such as VISA or American Express. Many online retailers allow you to create your own card design. Gift cards give recipients the option and freedom to buy something they’ll love. Just be sure to check the store’s policy. For more gift card ideas visit, GiftCardMall.com.

Create personalized gift certificates. A great gift isn’t always something tangible. Sometimes giving someone your time is the best present of all. Get creative this holiday season and create free personalized gift certificates. You can create a free gift certificate good for 20 hours of free babysitting or free yard services for a whole month. 

Offer homemade treats. Give your loved ones a heartwarming treat from the oven. Bake homemade sweet bread, gingerbread cookies, or mini raspberry cupcakes. Deliver the treats in festive containers. Your family and friends will be pleasantly surprised with the edible delights. For more holiday treats download the free Cheap Eats eBook for more great ideas.

Regift. Sometimes you don’t have to travel far to find great gift ideas. Sometimes it’s as nearby as your own closet. Skip the crowded malls and high prices and consider regifting this year. Acceptable regifts include any unused gift. For successful regifting, make sure you don’t regift to the original giver and give a regift that someone would actually enjoy. For more tips and ideas on regifting, visit Regiftable.com.

The holiday season is a time to spend with family and friends and nothing shows affection more than something meaningful from the heart. Great gifts don’t have to come packaged in decorative holiday wrapping. Consider making a charitable donation in the recipient’s name. Choose an organization that has the most meaning for the recipient.

Renee McGruder is a former communications coordinator and grant writer at MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

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  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.