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Shopping Insiders Reveal the Easy Ways to Score Last-Minute Gifts — For Less

Some of these places will even give you money just for shopping there! 

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With so much happening this holiday season, it’s almost impossible to finish all of your to-dos, let alone shop for presents for everyone on your list — not to mention those who weren’t on your lis, but surprised you with a gift that you now need to reciprocate. So if you’re like us, you’re likely left scrambling for last-minute Christmas gift ideas. Adding to the stress? From hostess gifts to presents for your co-workers and more, the cost of holiday gifting can rack up fast. But no need to panic: We turned to shopping pros for all the best secrets to save on last-minute items for everyone on your list. Here, 6 savvy ways, places or items you can buy as last-minute Christmas gifts to save some cash on 11th-hour holiday shopping.  

1. Last-minute Christmas gifts for a fashionista

Last minute Christmas gifts: Shimmery black pouch for women’s with white background, Classic black sling bag with silver chain design on the strap with white background
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For the fashion plate on your list, make a beeline to online marketplaces, where you’ll find a treasure trove of brand new on-trend accessories and more. “Checking online marketplaces that sell new and secondhand items like Mercari and Poshmark can be a great resource for gifts since they often offer lots of ‘NWT’ or ‘New With Tags’ merchandise,” says Eve Dawes, lifestyle blogger at GlamourandGains.com. And they sell them at much lower that retail prices. For example, recently on Mercari, there was a Coach wristlet selling for $54 that was still selling for $131 on CoachOutlet.com. To see what’s available, simply enter ‘NWT’ into the search bar and you’ll find a variety of items that pop up, or you can even combine the search with something specific you’re looking for.

2. For little ones in your life

“Around the holidays, Dollar Tree gets in so much adorable Christmas merchandise — and since they now include items over $1, that means you can snag even more items at a lower cost than department stores,” says Judy Woodward Bates, money-saving expert and founder of Bargainomics.com. In one aisle, you can find festive mugs that can be filled with hot chocolate or apple cider packets, candy canes or other candies and wrapped as gifts. “They look exactly like the ones you’d pay three times the price for at other stores,” says Woodward.

Related: How to Save Money Shopping at Dollar Tree: Savings Pros Reveal the 9 Best Secrets

In the toy aisle you’ll also find lots of fun things to stuff the stockings for the kiddos like ‘Noodle’ fidget toys for $3 a bag that cost $7 at Kohl’s or Play Dough mini sets for $5 each that cost $7 at Target. (Click through for more ways to save money at Target.)

3. Last-minute Christmas gifts for a hostess

Last minute Christmas gifts: Woman with a bouquet of flowers. Flowers in a box
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No time to bake, but you still want to come baring a delicious treat to those hosting you for a holiday meal? For inexpensive yet quality gourmet gifts, you can swing by Trader Joe’s and pick up some tasty holiday specialty treats without breaking the bank. The store’s baked goods are often just as delicious as a fancy baker, but with a price tag that’s a whole lot less. One that’s always a hit — customers rate it a 12 out of 10 — is the store’s Danish Kringle, a style of Danish iced pastry made up of flaky crust with sweet filling baked in a ring shape. It costs just $10 (having a Danish Kringle delivered by Wolferman’s Bakery will cost you $20!) These rings are so popular, Trader Joe’s often puts a limit on how many you can buy, so get one to give as a gift, and maybe nab one just treat yourself — cut a slice, heat it up in the air fryer for a few minutes for a delicious bite. You deserve it! 

Also smart? You can always keep it simple and still save money — nothing is as thoughtful as a beautiful bouquet of flowers for them to enjoy. “Warehouse clubs have floral departments where you can find deals cheaper than flower shops — you can buy an array of bouquets like two dozen roses for $15, and add a pretty vase for $5,” says Sara Skirboll, savings expert for RetailMeNot.com. Or you can pick up a big mixed bouquet for $16, grab some small vases at a dollar store and create six petit bouquets to give to a book club or coworkers for their desks—each one costs just $4 each but is comparable to ones that cost $15 at pop at the florist. 

Want to send a bouquet across the miles as a last-minute Christmas gift? There’s a way to save money on that as well! “It’s not the first place I think of when ordering flowers but with the cost of ordering them online from so many specialists having gone through the roof,” shares Dawes. “Amazon is now a great option for picking up flowers for your sister, mom or anyone else who loves flowers at the 11th hour!” For example, you can find a box of 9 NatRoses (Buy on Buy from Amazon, $24.99), which can last up to 3 years, for just $25 on the site. A similar box costs $50 at 1800Flowers.com. And Amazon even offers same-day delivery for some bouquets for free with Prime membership. 

Feeling crafty? Check out the Dollar Tree Crafts Blog and create holiday crafts like beautiful frosted glass jar candle holders that would make the perfect hostess gift for under $5!

Related: How to Get Wax Out of a Candle Jar: Pros Explain When to Use Cold vs Heat

4. Last-minute Christmas gifts for foodies

Last minute Christmas gifts: Female hand holding gift card
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For your favorite foodie, stop and grab gift cards from their favorite eateries since so many offer bonus cards with a minimum gift card purchase especially around the holidays. “For example, Cinnabon offers a $5 reward card when you purchase $25 in gift cards,” shares savings pro, Andrea Woroch. “Jamba juice has a promo from December 18th to the 24th where you earn two $5 reward cards for every $30 purchased in gift cards.” Plus, this time of year, lots of gift cards are packaged in cute holiday holders and make a great stocking stuffer for teens and college students. In fact, for students who can’t make it home for Christmas, or to send to other recipients across the miles, e-gift cards are also festive. 

Related: 8 Creative Ways to Wrap Gift Cards — So Easy and Fun!

Beauty box with face and body care products on grey background. Tubes with cream and lotion, hydrophilic oil, facial roller, guache massager, body brush. Natural cosmetics gift
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Another option? Shop discount and overstock stores like Big Lots! and 5 Below to snag gift sets for the foodies or beauty addicts on your list. Big Lots! offers plenty of samplers from coffee to cocoa to hot sauce in super cute packaging, all for 30% lower than elsewhere. Or score unique gifts like the S’mores Maker, a tabletop electric heater that comes with roasting sticks and costs just $19.99 — an identical one sells for $35 at JCPenney. And 5 Below offers beauty gift sets like Freeman Love to Mask 12-mask set for $5, while the same sets goes for $15 at Ulta.

5. For the hard-to-buy-for recipient

Last minute Christmas gifts: Happy female customer paying with a credit card in a ceramic store
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For that hard-to-shop for bestie or mother-in-law, check out small businesses or local boutiques near you since they often offer unique and personalized items that can make special gifts. Best yet, these shops are much more willing than huge retailers to offer special deals because they have more wiggle room on prices — particularly at the last minute. For example, the more items you buy, the more likely they are to offer a discount. Plus, if you offer to pay cash, you can often get an even deeper discount since they won’t have to pay a credit card fee on your purchase.

6. Last-minute Christmas gifts for a wine connoisseur 

Candles, punch and champagne bottles with a bow on the table
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Wine makes a great gift for your favorite vino enthusiast, clients or hostesses as last-minute Christmas gifts. “If you need to grab a bottle of wine on the way to a party, check out the iBotta app for rebates,” says Joanie Demer, co-founder of TheKrazyCouponLady.com. You’ll find deals like $3 off a bottle of Artesa Los Carneros wine or $2 off each bottle of Stella Rosa wine. Then pair them with sales to save even more. For example, Albertsons offers a huge discount on wine about every eight weeks, and the sale only lasts about 3 days. You can get 30% off any six bottles of wine like LaMarca Prosecco, which is normally priced at $14.99 but on sale for only $10.49 — a savings of over $4.50! When you pair these prices with earning cash back rebates through iBotta, you’ll nab incredible savings. 


For more Christmas, click through the links below!

These Christmas Cookies Are All Dressed Up Like Santa — 6 Fun + Easy Recipes

10 DIY Holiday Nail Designs That Add Festive Flair to Your Fingertips — In 3 Steps or Less!

And for all things Christmas, click here!

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