9 last-minute gift ideas

In case the unseasonably nice weather has caused you to miss the fact that Christmas is nearly upon us, here are nine quick last-minute gifts you can get for that person who still refuses to share their Amazon wish list with you:

Parks and trails gift certificates

Whether it's an all-access pass to state parks, a permit for one of Iowa's bike trails, or a membership pass for use with your local parks and recreation department, virtually everyone has something they can enjoy by getting outdoors.


Car detailing, washes, and oil changes

Almost everyone has a car and around this time of year, it probably looks awful. Who couldn't use a car wash, a detailing, or even an oil change right now? The car pictured below was a 1987 El Camino before it went in for a good detailing:

Haircuts, manicures, spa days, and massages

What do you get the person who has too many things? An experience, especially one they may be able to use again and again.

Streaming subscriptions

So many things are available online now that there's something for everyone. For video, there's Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. For streaming music, what about an iHeartRadio family plan?

Housekeeping, lawn care, window cleaning, gutter maintenance, or carpet cleaning

What better time to plan ahead for spring cleaning than at Christmastime? There are services available everywhere for making life easier around the home, and almost everyone could benefit from one.

___-Of-The-Month subscriptions

You know what brings me an unreasonable amount of cheer every month? The Candy-of-the-Month Club subscription I received as a gift. Is it silly for a grown man to look forward to a candy delivery? I say no! (Don't judge me!) But there are so many different options out there for monthly subscription deliveries that you can almost certainly find something for even the most unusual set of tastes. It's fun, it's surprising, and best of all it lasts the whole year long.


Framed pictures

Instagram won't be around forever. Take a couple of your favorite pictures of you and the giftee and send them to a one-hour photo printer. Get a couple of prints and put them in a nice desktop frame, and you've found a way to bring someone a smile even when their Internet connection goes out.

Charitable donations

If you're truly unable to find a single thing that another person wants to receive as a gift, then make a donation to a meaningful charity in their name. For a teacher? Donate to the local library. For someone with a big heart for kids? Donate to a charity like the Variety Club. For an animal lover? What about the Animal Rescue League? Or if you want to broaden your brainstorm, check out Charity Navigator to find highly-regarded ways to share the love.


College fund donations

If you're worried about spoiling a child with too many gifts, consider making a gift to a college fund in their name. Iowa has a well-respected 529 college savings plan in place, and it's easy to contribute.

Brian Gongol

Brian Gongol

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