14 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Get to Them, Like, Right Now

updated Dec 24, 2020
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So, Christmas is this week. If you still have some shopping to do, you could start panicking—after all, the cutoff date for guaranteed Christmas delivery has already come and gone for most retailers, and on top of that, shipping delays are practically inevitable this holiday season. But don’t give in! Panicking won’t put presents under anyone’s tree, and besides, it’s unnecessary: In this digital era, there are a wealth of truly thoughtful gift options that require no shipping at all, because they’ll be delivered virtually in the form of a subscription or gift card.

Far from seeming impersonal or lazy, a thoughtfully chosen gift card or subscription lets you give that tricky person on your list something they’ll actually want, even if you don’t know enough about their unique interests to pick it out yourself. Check out these favorite ideas below—nobody will suspect you found them at the last minute.

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Book of the Month

Founded nearly a century ago, this virtual book club is as popular as ever. Every month, the avid reader on your list will be able to select a new hardcover from a selection of five new titles. More often than not, all five picks end up receiving lots of critical acclaim and topping best-seller lists for weeks, so you know the options are good—in fact, the excellent book recommendations are a big part of the club’s appeal.

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NEST New York

With their unique, sophisticated fragrances that absolutely fill a room, Nest’s scented candles certainly raise the bar. But despite their impressive burn times, Nest candles aren’t exactly cheap, which is why the brand’s monthly candle subscription makes such a thoughtful gift. Maybe the fragrance aficionado on your list wouldn’t normally drop $42 on a luxury candle, but when a classic Nest candle with a new, expertly chosen fragrance appears in their mailbox each month, they certainly won’t hate it.

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If you’re shopping for someone who has niche interests or simply loves to learn, you can’t go wrong with a MasterClass membership. We loved Kelly Wearstler’s interior design course, but you can also try Ron Finley’s gardening class, Gordon Ramsey’s beginning cooking course, Steph Curry's basketball fundamentals, and Margaret Atwood's creative writing course. There's a MasterClass for pretty much everything, and right now you can get two annual all-access memberships for the price of one—bonus points if you and your loved one choose a course to take together.

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Butcher Box

Give the passionate carnivore on your list what they really want: a giant box of high-quality meat. This steak sampler box includes two ribeye steaks, two filet mignons, two NY strip steaks, and four top sirloin steaks, all 100 percent grass-fed, grass-finished, and pasture-raised. Although the steaks technically won’t arrive in time for the holiday, if you select the gift option at checkout, ButcherBox will send your recipient an email with your custom message when they ship.

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Parachute’s bedding and other home textiles feel nothing short of luxurious, but they can be a little pricey. That’s exactly why a Parachute gift card makes such a great gift: You’re essentially gifting your loved one permission to splurge on something they may have otherwise felt conflicted about buying but will make them feel pampered every day (or, more literally, every night).

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The Sill

The plant parent in your life knows exactly which plants they’ve been itching to add to their collection—so even if you weren’t shopping at the last minute, it just makes sense to give them a gift card to The Sill instead of trying to guess. In addition to a wide range of pre-potted live plants, the online store sells just about everything else a green thumb could want, from potting soil and plant misters to grow lights and faux artisan moss.

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Thrive Market

If you’ve never heard of Thrive Market, it’s essentially an online organic grocery store with 10 times the selection of any you’ve ever set foot in. Everything is priced with wholesale markdowns, but you need a membership to shop—basically, Thrive Market is like if Amazon and Costco had an organic, GMO-free food baby. An annual membership will give your giftee online access to over 6,000 natural products spanning the categories of food, health and beauty, household essentials, and more, all of which can be filtered by practically every imaginable dietary and lifestyle preference. Plus, Thrive will match your gift by providing a free membership for a low-income family, student, teacher, veteran, or first responder, so you’ll essentially be giving two gifts for the price of one.

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Disney+ has something for everyone. Whether you’re shopping for your sibling who’s a huge fan of "The Mandalorian," your aunt who never gets tired of talking about "Hamilton," or your BFF who loves the nostalgic cheer of old-school Disney Channel Original Movies ("Smart House," anyone?), you simply can’t go wrong with a subscription to the online streaming service.

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For the foodie who’s passionate about experiencing local cuisines, Goldbelly is a veritable gold mine. The online marketplace ships local food favorites from all over the country—deep dish pizza from Chicago; Philly Cheese Steaks from, well, Philly—directly to their doorstep, so they can explore the world of food at home until it’s safe to actually travel again. The only tricky decision you’ll have to make is whether to buy them a gift card or a monthly subscription (for pizza, cookies, or New Orleans favorites, to name a few examples).

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If you really don’t know what to get for that hard-to-shop-for person on your list, an Amazon gift card is the way to go. Sure, it’s not the most personal gift out there, but the fact that it’s pretty much foolproof more than makes up for it—after all, you can get anything on Amazon, so you’re essentially buying them exactly what they want. Plus, Amazon gives you the option to customize your e-gift card with your own photo or short video message, which makes it feel a lot more special.

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Bright Cellars

A subscription to Bright Cellars will get any wine enthusiast excited. They'll get to take a short quiz about their taste preferences, which helps an algorithm create personalized shipments of wines they’re likely to love. Your recipient can then give feedback for each bottle they recieve, which helps the algorithm improve the picks with every shipment. It’s a perfect example of how thoughtful a subscription can truly feel—you may not know a Verdicchio from an Albariño, but you’ve paid enough attention to know they’ll never get tired of tasting wine, and that’s what really counts.

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Switching things up with new seasonal decor each quarter brings many people joy, but realistically, the process can also be a bit of a hassle. A subscription to Decocrated will send your loved one a curated box filled with seasonal decor goodies (think easy-to-hang wall art, throw pillow covers, knick-knacks, and more), so they can have all the fun of updating their home without the hours spent shopping (not to mention the money!). Plus, who doesn’t love to get surprise packages in the mail?

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Blue Bottle Coffee

People who love coffee often drink a lot of it, which can make it hard to justify spending money and energy finding fancy new varieties to try. But that doesn’t mean the coffee lover on your list won’t be delighted by a subscription to Blue Bottle Coffee. When a new artisan blend is delivered to their doorstep hassle-free every other week, grinding up their coffee beans every morning will feel more special than ever.

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For the person who’s been swamped lately, a Freshly subscription will actually be giving them something invaluable: a break. Your gift will be stocking their fridge with fresh, nutritious, chef-prepared meals that are ready to eat in three minutes and actually taste great, so your busy friends and family can spend less time grocery shopping, prepping, and cooking and more time relaxing. It’s worth noting that Freshly’s entire menu is certified gluten-free and peanut-free, and their varied selection of meal options means dietary restrictions shouldn’t be an issue, either.