Last-Minute Gifts for People Who…Well, Don’t Really Like Gifts

Christmas shopping time is here, and I cannot be the only one who absolutely despises this part of the holidays. Aside from enjoying amazing food, travels, company, and memories with my loved ones, the gift-giving always hits me with one big blow. I have never been the best with selecting presents for others–there’s something about picking items that is so challenging for me!

It’s not that my loved ones are so picky or complex to find gifts for. It’s that they simply find they do not need or want any material items. Believe it or not, I feel the exact same way! I consider almost every day as an opportunity to purchase anything I want or need. Why reserve that for only one occasion? For the most part, all the cool products I find are made available in the middle of the year, much farther from the holidays than ever, and I tend to forget about them by the time Christmas comes.

Simply to put it, materialistic objects don’t have that undying impact on me as un-manifested realities, such as living out my dream career, traveling, attending a concert, visiting a convention, or even spending a day with someone special. Materials do give us a feeling, but one that often has an expiration date. That’s why we buy more and more Christmas gifts all over again. Nothing materialistic is quite the same as something that makes people feel happy, excited, or valued.

Nonetheless, many like to watch their loved ones un-wrap something. The process of wrapping a present, decorating the top, sealing an envelope, and then dismantling all the papers, tape, and ribbons to open a surprise is traditionally joyful to witness. That’s why most of these gift ideas suggest writing the name of these presents on a piece of paper, or printing out a picture of the gifts, then sealing them in an envelope to open. Alternatively, you can even put it in a box, or buy another small gift for them to open along with the envelope. It’s really up to you!

P.S. These gifts are also fantastic if you have a seriously limited budget. Some of these ideas are free to create!



  1. Picture frames: What better way to celebrate relationships than with memories? Decorate a somewhat plain picture frame, then you can place your favorite picture of you and your loved one(s) inside.
  2. Artwork: If you are gifted (pun may or may not be intended) in any form of art, a drawing, painting, ceramics material, comic, or anything else would be perfect for your family members or friends to remember you in the most innovative way.
  3. Clothing/Blankets: Yes, you can make these yourself! Have a knack for sewing, knitting, crocheting, or quilting? Put your skills to good use and make a warm scarf or quilt for the cold days ahead. They’re especially wonderful to create beautiful combinations of colors or use up any leftover fabric from unworn clothes.
  4. Scrapbooks: Absolutely the most classic way to create a collage of photos, stickers, and other mini-souvenirs such as keychains and jewelry! Yeah, scrapbooks may be outdated, but the memories never die.
  5. Series of letters: Just have a strong love for writing? Whip up a greetings letter, a congrats letter, a sad day letter, an encouragement letter, and a letter just expressing how much this person means to you. Seal them all in separate envelope and attach them together nicely.


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  1. Shopping trip: Find a fun, hopping, and varied outdoor or indoor mall (or the biggest Whole Foods in the world for me, personally) and join your loved ones for a shopping trip! Just have your wallet ready. They might go crazy during sales.
  2. Walk/bike around the beach: Nothing is more beautiful than watching the sunset or the sunrise by the ocean’s horizon. There are beaches that have bike rental shops here in the United States, but if you do live near a beach with bike shops, I highly recommend finding a free day to bike with a friend, family member, or significant other around the beach! Not only is it an amazing workout for your legs, but you will also enjoy quality time.
  3. Treat them to food: Ah, one of my favorites! The best way to someone’s heart is through the stomach. Yep, this doesn’t just apply to boys. Well, at least for me. You can get to my heart through my stomach. But in all seriousness, taking people out to dinner, brunch, or even coffee can be the sweetest gesture, especially if they have a certain dietary preference/circumstance and want you to give their food a chance. It also serves as the best opportunity to try a new dish and exchange meaningful conversations. Besides, that $100 Paleo coconut-shelled taco with raw vegan bacon isn’t going to pay for itself…
  4. Group fitness class: Okay, so if your friend is into fitness or wants to embark on a health and fitness journey, this is definitely for him or her. Whether they want to try Spinning, CrossFit, kickboxing, or rock climbing, you both have to be up for it. Who knows? You two may embark on a fitness journey together!



  1. Coupons: No, silly. Not for the supermarket. To the household. Yep, offer a coupon to do the dishes, vacuum the house, or even not talk back for a day or even for a few days. For the most part, parents know that their children are not as financially capable of gift-giving as they are, so they understand that you’re shopping on a budget. While presents don’t come cheap, many don’t even measure to the amount of household chores, errands, and children’s shenanigans they put up with. So, do them a favor and be a good kid. Well, at least for the time-being allotted on the coupons.
  2. Well-written cards: Your family knows you love them, but in what depth? Most of the time, communication is pretty surface-level. Buy a well-designed card, or make your own, and write away inside. Nothing is more loving than honest and heartfelt words.
  3. A video montage: One of my old favorites as a video editor! I highly recommend using a good yet easily understandable video editing software and placing background music while the videos play away. A slideshow of photos also works  perfectly.


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  1. Flowers: Pretty self-explanatory. Just make sure to get your significant other’s favorite flowers.
  2. Desserts: Again, self-explanatory. And you bet that if you’re giving it to someone like me, I will eat the entire box or bag of chocolates. So no sharing.
  3. A song performance: Bonus points if it’s an original song!
  4. Poetry: Poems are beautiful, compelling, and make you think. It’s basically expressing how much you love this person, except in an artistic way. Better yet, read the poem(s) to them to set the tone.

What are your favorite gift ideas?

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