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5 Great (And Thrifty) Last-Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Didn’t plan far enough ahead this Christmas? Or do you have some surprise guests coming over? We’ve got some great last-minute Christmas gift ideas that will fill stockings without emptying your wallet…or your emergency fund.

1. Hobby Gift Basket

Discount stores are the last-minute shopper’s best friend. Many discount and dollar stores offer big markdowns on high quality and even name-brand goods. With a little creativity, you can quickly put together gift baskets based on popular interests like grilling, sewing, or baking. (And don’t forget to pick up your wrapping paper and gift bags at your local discount/dollar store too. You don’t need to spend big on items that’ll just get thrown away!)

2. Service Gift

Are you an excellent baker, photographer, or hairdresser? If you have any professional-level skills, offer a gift of service this Christmas. For a fun touch, print up a gift certificate or coupon for a free family portrait, cake, cooking lesson, or whatever service you’re giving.

3. Recipe Mix/Homemade Beauty Product

If you’re the crafty sort who enjoys cooking (or making your own bath salts and beauty scrubs), this gift is a natural. All you need is ingredients and a few mason jars. Make up a big batch of dry soupcookie, or cocoa mix to pour into each jar. Tie some colorful ribbons and a dollar-store wooden spoon around the neck, print up some instructions, and you’re ready for Christmas. You can do this for any homemade bath or beauty products, too. Your friends and family will love having a gift they can use and enjoy long after new gadgets are gathering dust on a shelf.

4. Living Plant

Buying flowers is expensive, and the flowers don’t last. Instead, buy a small living plant as a gift. Many stores offer great prices on small plants. You can choose from flowering plants, succulents like cacti and aloes, or herbs for the cooks on your list. For an extra-special touch, decorate the pot the plant comes in or wrap the pot in colored cellophane.

5. Gift Card

Not sure what to get for that special someone? Why not try a Visa Gift Card and let them choose their own gift? Our Visa Gift Cards can be bought at a branch or ordered online. If you order online, you can even get the recipient’s name embossed on the card! Your card can be shipped in as little as 2 to 3 business days. And of course, if your gift card is ever lost or stolen, it can be replaced for the unspent amount.

Here’s a bonus gift idea: a financial advice book makes a great gift for a friend—or even for yourself. We’ve collected a list of a few quality books that we recommend for any occasion.

This article should not be considered legal, tax, or financial advice. You may wish to consult a tax or financial advisor about your individual financial situation.

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