How to Buy a Last-Minute Gift in 60 Seconds
Procrasti-haters need not apply.
There aren’t too many things that grind our gears (or, you know, grind our nutmeg) more than a Christmas killjoy. But we’d take a Grinch any day over a Christmas keener.
You know the ones—they start their list in October, parade their Black Friday scores past your office in Nordstrom carriers the size of sleeping bags, and insist on asking you how your shopping’s going every goddamn day.
We’ll save you the energy, Evelyn. NOT WELL.
But to our fellow procrastinators with nary a $68 bag charm to show for their efforts (or lack thereof): all is not lost. Before you admit defeat and get Mom the bath salts—as a general rule, unless she specifically asked for bath salts, don’t get the bath salts—here’s how to find an awesome last-minute gift in 60 seconds.
— Actually Make A List —
After you’ve circled Saks enough times to lap the mall walkers, you’ll realize you probably should have written down your purpose for going in the first place. A little advance prep work will save you a lot of time basking in the flattering food-court fluorescents, and will also (hopefully) save you from buying bae a neck pillow with hoodie attachment (don’t even think about it).
— And check it twice —
If you’re heading to a department store, check to see if they happen to carry anything on your list. If you’re really in a bind, those one-stop shops will save precious minutes. Do a quick scan of their online gift guides and Instagram accounts to see if there are any recent collabs worth noting (ahem, Aquazzura x Poppy Delevingne)—limited runs tend to make great gifts for your more difficult-to-buy-for friends.
Before you head out, do a little pre-damage control. Make note of low-stock items and find a backup store nearby that also sells them just in case.
— Online shopping cart < IRL shopping cart —
It’s too late. You’ve past the date of no return, and now’s not the time to find the perfect Chloé coffee table book/Kylie Lip Kit/purse that holds a liter of wine on Amazon, only get that dreaded “ships January 4th” notification. Save yourself the time and dejection, and make your list based on what’s available in store. Call ahead to double-check or, if you can, put it on hold before picking it up.
— A bitchin’ subscription —
(Sorry.) This is a particularly valuable option for those in the 50-plus age group (a.k.a Notorious M&D), who have no idea you can subscribe to something other than Rachael Ray Every Day. A couple of legitimately good ones for the meat lover/caffeine fiend/green juicer in your life: The Carnivore Club, Craft Coffee, and Pressed Juicery.
Pick up a few (relevant) items to package with the subscription card (artisanal popcorn for Amazon Prime, a slab of meat for the Carnivore Club,* etc.) and you’re good to go.
*Kidding, please don’t.
— Get up close and semi-personal —
The best way to seem thoughtful when your gift screams Costco? Add a personal touch—it’s so easy, and the receiver will probably like it more than the gift itself. Find a cute frame for that old photo booth shot of the two of you, or get a favorite photo printed in the time it takes to finish your matcha latte. Or, set a date for the two of you to get your hair done, nails done, everything did together, and include a gift card and note detailing the plan.
Unless, of course, you have a sneaking suspicion this person doesn’t want to hang out with you one-on-one. Then, don’t do this.
— If at first you don’t succeed, lie, lie again —
We’ll warn you, this one should only be kept in the back pocket of your Rag & Bones in case of absolute emergency. Like when you go to dinner with someone in late December and BAM—they whip out that surprise package (this is just as horrific in the Tinder-date sense as it is in the since-when-do-we-exchange-gifts sense). Keep your cool, give them your best Rose-Byrne-in-Bridesmaids smirk and tell them you’ve planned a little surprise that should be coming to their inbox shortly (“A subscription to Rachael Ray Every Day?! You shouldn’t have”).
— Back away from the texting gloves —
If he wanted texting gloves, he’d buy himself texting gloves. There’s a reason they’re always on sale.