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Toi Degree column: Some ideas for last-minute gifts

By Toi Degree

We’re about a week and a half away from Christmas, and some of you are starting to feel the crush of finishing up your Christmas list. You have been putting it off, haven’t had the time or perhaps you are still trying to decide on the perfect gift. Whatever the reason for your procrastination, you still have time to get a gift that the person receiving will love.

While most of the best sales have come and gone by now, it doesn’t mean you have to get gouged. You still have options to save money and find some deals. Keep reading to find out what you need to get this job done and come out smelling like a rose.

  • Keep an eye out for stores that offer repeat Black Friday deals. I researched it and found out that in 2019, Target crossed the holiday finish line strong with a repeat deal on gaming bundles. Keep an eye out for specific circle offers inside the store app the week before Christmas, and then keep your eyes peeled for last-minute sales. Use their website or app to confirm the item you want is in stock at your local store, purchase online or in-app, and select in-store pickup.
  • Sign up loved ones for subscription boxes as gifts. This is your one opportunity to say “your gift is in the mail” and not look like you shopped last minute … even though you did. But seriously, who is going to complain about gifts coming to their house all year round? There are many sites to choose from and something for everyone. Fabletics is one that you might pick for someone into fitness and working out; their activewear is cute and stylish, and you can wear it anywhere.
  • Buy stocking stuffers at the dollar store. The dollar store can be a thrifty family’s dream when it comes to filling stockings — especially a procrastinating thrifty family. Just walk in and load up on toys, stickers, kitchen gadgets, or whatever else your family would get a kick out of. These are extra small gifts and you don’t have to be so concerned with them being broken because, well, they only cost a dollar!
  • Send a gift though Giftly, and the recipient picks what they want. I don’t know about you, but we all get those gifts that we just don’t want. This way, you eliminate that and it is a step above a gift card. To use Giftly, suggest a general item like “spa day,” “scarf,” “electronics” and more to your person. Then, select a place for them to use the gift, or leave it general like “any theater” for a movie ticket gift. The recipient chooses how to receive the funds, so the “gift” comes as money into the recipient’s bank account or PayPal account. They can spend it however they want with the option to inform the giver about what they bought. So basically, it’s a gift card that’s actually money but seems like a personalized gift. What’s not to love?
  • Give a free housecleaning session to your whoever. Because who wouldn’t be jumping for joy on the inside to see that for just once, they don’t have to clean their own house? Contact local housecleaning companies to find out about a gift card for one session or a whole dang month if you’re really channeling your inner Santa.
  • Give gifts from your re-gifting stockpile. Who hasn’t done this? Well, I certainly have several times in my lifetime and I am not ashamed to say it. OK, so it might be a little too late this year to do this … but then again, it may not be. You might want to think about it for next year if you suspect you’ll be last-minute shopping again, which let’s be honest — you will be. So, here’s what you need to do to be ready. Start a re-gifting stockpile by setting aside items that are brand new and really nice but you simply have no use for. Do not — I repeat do not — re-gift a used item. You don’t want to be that person!

I hope these suggestions have been helpful to you and will give you a few ideas you have not thought of or new options to make gift-giving easier. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope that you get all that you dream and wish for. Stay safe, healthy, and well!

For additional suggestions and websites, visit:






Toi N. Degree is associate family and consumer education agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Contact her at 704-216-8970 or toi_degree@ncsu.edu.

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