Time is quickly running out to finish your holiday shopping, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve barely started checking items off your list. But don’t let a lack of time keep you from giving meaningful presents this holiday season – below are three unique gift ideas perfect for the last-minute shopper.
While you can never go wrong with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, consider branching out this year and gifting your loved ones with a house plant instead. Research suggests that house plants can improve indoor air quality, increase happiness, and even help fight colds– all of which are especially important during these cold winter months. Try a succulent or a collection of tiny air plants for a unique and beautiful gift that requires little care or maintenance.
Stores like IKEA, West Elm, and Home Depot all sell indoor plants of varying sizes for reasonable prices. Pick out your favorite and dress it up with a festive ribbon or give as-is for a simple but thoughtful holiday present.
Bonus Points: Register yourself and your loved one for a class at a local nursery or flower shop. In addition to learning new skills like succulent potting and flower arranging, you’ll get a fun night out and an opportunity to create new memories. Some shops even offer classes with a fun twist, like wine and cheese, or live music!
Give a Gift that Gives Back
Sometimes, it really is the thought that counts. Instead of gifting your friend or family member with another “thing” from their wish list, spread the love this holiday season by making a charitable donation in their honor. Donate to one of their favorite charities or introduce them to one of yours! Many nonprofits and charitable organizations now offer “gift certificates” that you can print out and present as proof of donation.
Looking for something a bit more… wild? Through organizations like Heifer International, you can donate an animal to help support families in need around the world. When you make a gift in honor of a loved one, you can share in the joy of providing a family with a sustainable livelihood and increased access to medicine, school, and food. (And besides, how how fun would it be to say you gave your friend a llama for Christmas?!)
If you really want to gift your loved one something tangible, opt for a gift that gives back. Check your favorite neighborhood shops for items sold in partnership with local charities, or browse the Fair Trade USA Gift Guide for ethically made items like cozy sweaters, organic coffee beans, and even sports equipment.
Share Your Time and Talents
It’s easy to overlook your own talents as ordinary, but try to see yourself from someone else’s perspective– what unique experiences and skills make you, you? Chances are, you’ve got something truly wonderful to offer!
Are you a skilled photographer? Offer to take new headshots for your friend’s LinkedIn profile or set up a fun photo shoot to capture a few candid snaps in her favorite locale. Everyone needs a great photo (or ten)!
Is cooking your hidden talent? Share your favorite recipes by treating your loved one to a special home-cooked meal. Better yet, invite them into your kitchen and teach them a thing or two while you prepare the meal together. Never underestimate the power of a shared experience and a good bottle of wine.
What are some of your favorite last-minute gifts to give?
Nora Hall is a social impact communications strategist who works with nonprofit organizations nationwide. When she's not working, you can find her cheering for her favorite teams, playing soccer, or roaming the aisles of Trader Joe's (cookie butter, anyone?) You can follow her on Twitter @NoraCHall