9 Last Minute Gift Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

Share this link:

According to a 2018 survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, about 134 million consumers complete their holiday gift shopping the Saturday before Christmas. Seven percent of the individuals surveyed said they would still be gift shopping on Christmas Eve. Are you one of those 134 million people who shop for gifts at the last minute? Do you have a tight holiday gift budget this year? Why not try one of these nine last minute gift ideas that won’t break the bank:

Cookie Mix in a Jar

Cookie mix in a jar is an easy way to gift someone homemade cookies without having to do the baking yourself. This also cuts down on the time required to make the cookies since all of the dry ingredients are pre-measured. The first step is to gather all of the supplies required to make your cookie mix.


  • 1 quart Mason jar
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • M&Ms or chocolate chips
  • Light brown sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Measuring spoons
  • Index card, pen or computer to make the recipe card

Once you have acquired all of the supplies needed to make your cookie mix in a jar, follow the directions outlined in this recipe. You can also find your own recipe for a different type of cookie. Remember to include the recipe card with instructions on how to make a fresh batch of homemade cookies.

Sharpie-Painted Mug & Goodies

Sharpie-painted coffee mugs are a fun, creative last minute gift idea, even if you are not the artistic type. You can create a masterpiece that everyone will love, and add a little extra joy to your gift by filling the mug with candy, coffee, or other goodies. Gather all of the supplies required to paint your mug, including:

  • Plain white coffee mugs
  • Oil-based sharpie paint pens (not regular sharpies)
  • Letter stickers or other stencils
  • Electric oven
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Q-tips and any goodies to fill your completed mug

Follow the directions for this DIY Sharpie-painted mug to create the perfect gift this holiday season.

Brownie in a Cup

Anyone who has been down the baking aisle in their local grocery store has seen the microwave muffins and cakes in a cup. Now you can gift a brownie in a cup to those family members who love to cook in the microwave. It’s a simple, last minute gift idea that is easy on the budget.

Supplies needed:

  • Coffee mug
  • Cellophane or Ziploc bags
  • Package of brownie mix
  • Measuring spoons
  • Index card, pen and/or a computer

Then follow this 60-second brownie recipe. Instead of a mug, place the brownie mix in a baggie. Be sure to include a recipe card with directions for how to make the 60-second brownie in a mug.

Rudolph Bottle Soda

Rudolph bottle soda is an easy way to make a festive looking 6 pack of glass bottled soda. This is fun and easy as long as you know what the recipient’s favorite soda is and it comes in a four or six pack of glass bottles.

You’ll need:

  • A four or six pack of glass bottled soda
  • Wiggly eyes
  • Red pom poms
  • Brown pipe cleaners
  • Ribbon
  • Either hot glue or another glue like E6000

Follow these easy directions to have yourself the perfect reindeer gift for people of all ages.

Rope Coasters

Rope drink coasters are a fun, easy-to-make gift that can remain plain or be personalized with paint. These can be festive or personalized to the individuals’ favorite color or sports team.

Supplies required to make the coasters will be:

  • White or other color of rope
  • Hot glue gun with glue sticks
  • Stencils
  • Paint brushes or sponges
  • Fabric paint

Follow these step-by-step instructions to make your coasters. You can make a set of two, four or six. The decision is up to you!

If DIY really isn’t your style, one of these easy-to-put-together gift baskets could make a great last minute gift idea.

Movie Night Basket

Do you have any movie lovers in your family, or have anyone that you recently heard talking about their latest favorite movie or TV-show? If so, then this gift basket might be the perfect gift.

Supplies needed:

  • Recipient’s favorite movie or TV show
  • Popcorn
  • Theater box candy
  • Soda, or other drinks
  • Basket or other container, tissue paper, ribbon and a tag for their name

Baking Basket

Know anyone that is always baking away in the kitchen?  If so, this could be the perfect gift.

Supplies needed:

  • Big mixing bowl
  • Measuring spoons and cup
  • Cookie recipe book
  • Cookie cutters
  • Rolling pin
  • Mixing spoons
  • Dish towels and any other baking related utensils

Spa Basket

If anyone on your list this year is stressed or could use a spa day, give this basket a try.

Supplies needed:

  • Basket
  • Bubble bath
  • Bath bombs
  • Face masks
  • Fuzzy socks
  • Lotion
  • Bar soaps
  • Feet scrubber or pumice stone
  • Beverage of your choice

Coffee Lover’s Basket

For the coffee lovers in your life, a coffee basket will make a great gift.

Supplies needed:

  • Basket
  • Coffee mug
  • Assortment of different coffees
  • Non-refrigerated creamer
  • Sugar
  • Sweet treat

With the ideas above, you’re sure to have gifts that will be a bit more personal than the last minute gifts you have given in previous years. The real bonus is that they won’t break the bank either, and you can stay within your holiday budget. And if you’re going green this season, be sure to check out our no waste gift wrapping ideas as well!



Alyssa Cole received her BFA in Communication Design from Schreiner University and has worked in the marketing field for two and a half years. She is a member of AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) and is certified in Google Ads, Google Analytics, HubSpot Email Marketing/Content Marketing, and GreenFig Digital Marketing Science. Alyssa is a millennial who enjoys going on day trips with her family, friends, and her dog Maximus.