Christmas is this week, and maybe there are a few people (or more than a few people) left on your shopping list. How you got to this point doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’re down to the wire, and even Prime shipping is an iffy option at this point.
But don’t fret! There are many gifts that don’t require expedited shipping or a last-minute shopping trip—even ones so thoughtful that they’ll seem wholly premeditated to the recipient. Browse the recommendations below for a few ideas.
Subscription boxes are, in a very literal sense, the gifts that keep on giving. And while many of them can be pricey, you don’t have to purchase a year’s worth of something to make a great gift: many offer three- or six-months options. Present your loved one with a card or email explaining their gift, and they’ll have something to look forward to at the start of the new year.
Book of the Month
Giving someone a book can feel like a bit of a gamble (“Will she like it? And if she doesn’t, will she think less of me?!”), not to mention that the recipient may feel a little unintended pressure (“How soon do I have to read this? And will she want to discuss it?!”).
But giving your loved one her choice of books for a couple months is a win-win for both parties. Book of the Month is a membership that curates several good reads every month (mostly, but not exclusively, fiction), from which members select one to receive in the mail.
Logistically: you can have your gift delivered via scheduled email (or you can print a card from your own computer), from which the recipient can activate her gift. And if she wants to skip a month, she can do so without penalty.
Sock of the Month Club
I’m not sure at what age “new socks” began featuring so prominently in my idea of “luxury,” but here we are, and I for one would love to get new socks in the mail for a few months.
Sock of the Month Club is precisely what its name indicates: every month, the recipient receives a new pair of socks (shipped out every 27th, so if you get your order in before Christmas your loved one will receive a package at the start of the new year). There’s a new design every month (browse past designs here) and you can print a certificate to give your loved one indicating their membership.
Simple Loose Leaf’s Tea of the Month
If you opt for a three-month subscription of something, tea is a perfect fit: since winter officially began yesterday, three monthly deliveries of tea will carry your recipient through to spring.
That said, the Simple Loose Leaf gift subscription is even more customizable than that. You can choose how often your recipient receives a shipment (as often as monthly or as infrequently as quarterly), as well as what type (black, herbal, green, or a sampler).
Airbnb has allowed hosts to offer “experiences” for several years—think workshops, tours, dinners, etc.—but in April of this year, as the pandemic shut down much of the travel industry, it introduced online experiences. So while you can still book a cooking class or visit farm animals in person (local COVID restrictions depending), you can also connect with hosts around the world—and give a loved one the gift of doing so, too.
Your recipient can spend an hour and a half with Parisian bakers learning to make choux pastry or learn about the Northern Lights with hosts from Tromsø, Norway for a mere $11/person. And the gift-giving logistics are flexible as can be: your (scheduled email) gift card will display the suggested activity, plus the Airbnb credit, but it’s ultimately up to the recipient to choose and schedule the experience she wants.
Gift cards to local businesses
Maybe you balk at giving gift cards because it feels like the easy way out (“I just couldn’t decide what to get you, so I gave up!”) or because it can be awkward to tell someone precisely how much money you spent on them. (For what it’s worth, I think gift cards make great gifts, those objections notwithstanding.)
But if ever there were a year that a gift card might be extra appreciated, it’s this one. Many local businesses are struggling as the pandemic wears on, and purchasing a gift card for a loved one—maybe to her favorite happy hour spot or indie bookstore—is as much an investment in the local economy as it is a treat for her. And since so many businesses offer email gift card options, you probably still have plenty of time to order it.
Verily Yours is our membership program, featuring four email newsletters: Verily Table, which turns the dinner hour into a ritual of restoration with curated recipes, podcasts, and playlists; Verily Work, your companion when the workweek stress creeps in with thoughtful reflections and productivity tips; Verily Cents, which breaks down money matters with values, personality, and relationships in mind; and Verily Home, which offers inspiration for cultivating beauty in your home, in ways big and small.
Your recipient will also get access to a members-only website with all past Verily Yours content, where she can browse and bookmark her favorite recipes, articles, or podcast episodes for future perusal. Choose from six-month and one-year options, and you can even throw in a Verily tote to arrive in the mail later.
If you’re still feeling stuck, consider writing a thoughtful note and offering a non-material gift. And remember: as the Grinch learned, Christmas “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”