This week's list asks for Top Ten Last Minute Gift Ideas. Here goes:
1. Tickets to an event. A play, a game, a concert, a ballet, a symphony. Whatever the person enjoys, it is pretty easy to purchase tickets online and write up a card to put under the tree.
2. Pastry-of-the-Month Club. I gave this to my dad for his 70th birthday, and when my mom turned 70, she wanted it, too. I took twelve postcards, stamped and put my address on them, and on each I gave a choice of three things to bake. The recipient mails the card back, and you make them a treat. You could do this for anything--chore of the month, dinner of the month...whatever you like to do and you know the recipient will enjoy. The added bonus: if you live nearby, it's a great excuse to visit each month as you deliver on your club.
3. Lessons. What does the recipient want to learn? Can you teach that skill? If so, make up a certificate for a fun afternoon of lunch and lessons. If you can't teach it, is there a place near the recipient that can? I'm hoping for a few private downhill ski lessons, but cooking lessons at Sur la Table (or Williams and Sonoma--my sister goes to their classes frequently) would be great, too.
4. Fitness. Gift certificates to a yoga studio, ballet school, pool, or whatever your recipient likes to do are quick to order for those near and far.
5. Museum membership. Pick a museum near the recipient that s/he will enjoy. The summer I lived in Oxford I visited the Ashmolean practically every other day because I didn't have to pay to get in. I felt no guilt about going in to look at one object for twenty minutes and leaving.
6. Music. Does your giftee have a huge record album collection? Get digital copies of the records to make them easier to play (I'm assuming, like us, the record player is not with all the other stereo equipment any more. Neal keeps his turntable in his work room in the basement.) or introduce your giftee to something new and wonderful.
7. Massage. A welcome, relaxing gift, this is easy to purchase long distance or locally. Really, any spa treatment will do.
8. Fancy-pants dinner out. Instead of exchanging gifts, agree with your recipient that you'll wile away a January evening at a posh restaurant. What fun to have a reason to dress up, enjoy great food, and most importantly, a chance to catch up with someone you love.
9. Car Kit. I've got young drivers in mind here, but this could work for anyone, really. Fill a bucket with stuff to keep the car clean, a snow and ice scraper (if you live where that is needed), add a gas card, and maybe even an emergency kit.
10. A knit hat. I'm the world's slowest knitter, but even I can bang out a hat in an evening or two. Make it out of something warm and cuddly like Malabrigo, and even the most basic pattern will be a treat.
I'm breaking the rules by adding an eleventh:
Donate to a great cause. I hope you'll consider donating to my colleague's efforts to build a much-needed classroom in Nicaragua. If you do, be sure to enter my contest!
What are your ideas for great last-minute gifts?