Written by Nik Jameson
I feel like we have all had that dreaded moment, days into December and we are suddenly surprised with a gift exchange or remember the kid’s teacher or the piano instructor or even the nice neighbors. There are a hundred reasons we need a last minute gift and all of them elicit the moment of panic and the rapid roll of ideas through your head. What should I get!?
I’ve compiled some quick and easy ideas for small last minute gifts (and a blessed easy vegan recipe at the end too). Best yet, this list isn’t December holiday specific and can be used all year long for birthdays or teacher/staff appreciation days that creep up on you.
A book or Journal
Festive (or hilarious) socks
Tote bag or nice reusable grocery store bags
You may not know someone’s style or house decorations, go with items made out of clear glass, silver metal and natural fibers because they are generally easier to match. Remember the less is more rule and avoid highly decorated or ornate pieces when choosing household items for others. The Mr. and Mrs. Santa salt shakers may look great in the store but end up clashing with an already established interior design.
Candleholders or gently scented candle
- Simple clay or white glass serving dish
- Mug (bonus fill it with chocolate or coffee)
- Wooden hot pads for pots and pans
- Small potted plant in nice pot
This isn’t just for women. Men use beard wax or need a good moisturizer too.
- Skin scrub
- Bath salts of bombs
- Beard care supplies
Isn’t it always a great joy to open a gift card? When shopping, you at first may think gift cards are thoughtless but remember your own experiences a well thought out gift card may be the most practical and most appreciated. Who doesn’t enjoy the freedom of a good gift card? If you know where they already shop get them that if not some popular ideas are:
- Local yoga class (or any class)
- Best Buy
- Barnes and Nobles
- Starbucks or another restaurant
If you want to do something more personal for someone close to you, a wonderful gift is a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription to something they love. There are tons of amazing subscription services out there:
- Food delivery services or even a local CSA
- Monthly yarn, books, stickers or beauty boxes
If you’ve got the skills (and the time), use them!
- Knit tablet or ebook cover
- Painting or drawing (frame it!)
- Kitchen or recipe magnet
Lastly, but certainly not the least a homemade treat is always my favorite last-minute gift. I think this is a traditional go-to for many people because we all love sweets and warming up the house this time of year. The only reminder is to check for food allergies and diet preferences (like gluten-free, nut free or others). I always loved getting food when I taught at school but as a vegan it was often things I couldn’t enjoy. It’s super easy to ask people about their diet and allergies, but if you don’t have the time to ask and want to give the gift of food, consider the restaurant gift card option above.
- Preserves or jams
- Themed basket (like Italian with good pasta, wine, pasta sauce etc.)
Below find and easy Vegan Muffin Loaf recipe that you can whip up for any last-minute party or gift basket.
Notes: This recipe calls for fresh cranberries. I rarely find them fresh but it’s easy to rehydrate dried ones. For every 1 cup of fresh berries rehydrate ½ cup of dried.
For this recipe place ¾ cup of dried cranberries in a bowl, cover with boiling water and let sit for 30 minutes. Drain water and use it as directed.
Cranberry Orange Walnut Vegan Muffin Loaf Recipe
Ingredients: 2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
2 T cornstarch
¼ cup vegetable milk (like coconut, almond or soy)
¾ c orange juice
1 t orange zest (optional)
1 t vanilla
2 T coconut oil (or room temp. margarine)
1 ½ cups fresh cranberries (I can usually only find dried see notes below) ½ cup chopped nuts
Preheat the oven to 350*F (175*C) Line (or grease) a 9×5 inch loaf pan In a medium bowl, mix together the four, sugar, baking soda and cornstarch. Stir in the vegetable milk, orange juice, zest and oil until well blended. Stir in nuts and fresh cranberries (or dried, soaked and strained see notes above) until evenly mixed. Pour into the lined loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake for 45-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan. Wrap tightly and store in the fridge. Makes 1 loaf approximately 15 slices.
For more articles by Nik visit her blog: https://nikofthyme.com/