The holidays are always the busiest time of year, and sometimes things fall through the cracks. If you’re one of those last-minute mall shoppers, or you need to find a gift for someone in hurry, I have a couple of suggestions here that might work great for the geek or word nerd in your life.
All of these can be ordered with Amazon Prime or are readily available in a store, so you don’t have to worry about something being out of stock or any long delivery times. And everything I’ve listed here is very affordable if you’re on a budget.
Note: This post has some affiliate links for specific products I am recommending. If you click on them and then make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. If you want to know more you can read my affiliate disclosure.
I’ve already written at length about why notebooks make such good gifts, as well as over 60 different ways to use them. They’re always available and come in so many different styles and colours. My favourite, and the one I’d recommend most, is the A5 Essentials notebook from Peter Pauper Press. Just in case, I would throw in some nice pens or pencil crayons for them to use in their brand-new notebook.
I’m an avid reader so forgive me if I gush about books for a bit on my own blog, but I think they’re an often underutilized option for a gift. And I don’t just mean shopping someone’s wishlist or picking up something from the bestsellers table and hoping it’s something they’ll enjoy.
Think about their lifestyle and what sort of things they enjoy, and find a book that complements that. For example, if you’re shopping for someone who struggles to find time to read, I’d recommend a poetry collection or short story anthology. Maybe they enjoy photography or are trying to learn a new language.
Fans of Star Wars might enjoy one of the novelizations of the films, or one of the many companion novels that exist. And even though Game of Thrones had a very controversial ending, it was a beautiful tv show, and if you know a die-hard fan who isn’t embittered by the ending, they might appreciate The Art of Game of Thrones, an art book full of illustrations from the show.
And if they were bitter, well, maybe they can start reading the actual Song of Ice and Fire books and hope that series has a more satisfying conclusion.
Several years ago I had a friend preparing for a big trip to a country she’d never been to, and she wasn’t sure where to begin. I picked up some travel books from the local bookstore, and she gushed to me after the trip, thankful that I had bought her those books because they had been such a great help in planning where to go.
Even if you’re shopping for someone who isn’t traditionally a reader, take a moment to consider what kind of book they might enjoy or take some value from.
Fingerless Gloves & Fuzzy Socks
Whether you’re drawing in your sketchbook, writing at a computer or playing some video games, if it’s winter, it’s probably cold outside. If you know someone who always complains about cold hands and the like, they might appreciate a pair of fingerless gloves, or maybe some warm socks. This time of year they’re easy to pick up pretty much anywhere, but it’s one of those luxuries that they might not think to pick up for themselves.
This might be an odd one, but hear me out. It’s something I picked up for myself recently, and at first, I wasn’t sure how much use I’d get out of it. Turns out I use it all the time.
I can’t work on my lap – it’s just not comfortable. I need a flat surface, and a lap desk is perfect for when I’m lounging on the couch or having a lazy day in bed. You can still be productive, or at the very least, have a place to keep your food and drink while curled up in bed reading or playing video games. It’s cold, friends, and sometimes you don’t want to get out of bed. Regardless, I think a lap desk is an inexpensive, unusual, but truly useful gift idea.
Let’s be honest, we are a content-hungry population. We can’t seem to get enough. Netflix, Steam, iTunes – there are so many systems in place to feed that constant need for content. But that also means that gift cards to any of these make for really solid gifts. They’re everywhere, they don’t expire, and can be used whenever they feel like picking up a treat. And a quick search on Google can give you some interesting ideas for how to wrap it and make it a little more interesting to open.
Is it a little basic? Yes. You’ll get no points for originality (unless you think of some inventive way to wrap the darn thing), but they’re also extremely common, even for small indie stores. It’s a good chance for you to show you care by giving them a gift certificate to their favourite online store.
And many of us struggle financially this time of year too, so gift cards for groceries and gas can really help take pressure off.
The most meaningful and personable gifts are ones that you make yourself – that’s always going to be true. Not all of us have the time, but I do have some suggestions for things to make that are not overly complicated or time-consuming:
Cookie/Party Mix in a Jar
Easy, snacky foods for the foodie or sweet tooth on your list. You can mix dry ingredients in a jar or make up a fun trail mix with someone’s favourite treats for them to snack on while they’re reading or gaming. I’ve also seen soup mixes and hot chocolates, so you can really get creative. Here’s a video of 5 different mason jar cookie recipes from The Domestic Geek:
Make Your Own Notebook
Not happy with the options out there? Already blown the budget and trying to keep costs down? Then you can always make a notebook. It’s actually really easy, and you don’t need a lot of materials. You might need to get resourceful, but it’s not complicated and doesn’t take a lot of time. I’ve made a few myself! Sea Lemon on Youtube has an entire playlist on ways to bind a notebook.
Arm Knit an Infinity Scarf
I think I’ve mentioned the cold about a hundred times at this point, but you really can’t go wrong with something warm and fuzzy this time of year. I don’t know that I would recommend gloves or socks for the beginner, but a warm scarf is always welcome, and not nearly as complicated. I used the tutorial below to make a few scarves for family members, and it was a fun and relaxing way to spend an afternoon!
Nerdy Pins with Shrink Plastic
If you like to draw or doodle, pick up some Shrinky Dinks shrinking plastic, some pin backs and some e6000 glue and go to town. I recommend Ultra Fine Sharpies cause they’re easy to draw with, allow for more details, and still look good after they’ve gone in the oven. Whether you create some cool literary quote pins or every kind of Pokeball, you can make some really unique pins for that geek in your life.
It’s the holidays, and people fret all the time about what to get for their family and friends, and it’s easy to forget that it’s not about the material stuff.
And if you happen to know someone who has everything they could ever want, or who doesn’t like a lot of clutter, you might want to consider making a donation to a charity in their name instead. Extra points if it’s for a cause they’re particularly supportive of. It’s a nice way to give back this holiday season and to show someone you care. And that’s what the presents are really about, after all. Just make sure you do your research.
Those are 10+ easy last-minute gift ideas for your holiday shopping needs! Hopefully, this list helps you choose the perfect gift for someone in your life, or at the very least sparks some fresh ideas. It’s easy to break the budget this time of year, but with a bit of brainstorming and some perseverance, it’s not impossible to come up with really unique gifts without spending too much money. If you need more suggestions, head over to Pinterest. It is a goldmine for unique and unusual gift ideas.
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