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Last-Minute Christmas Gift Ideas When You Think You've Run Out Of Options

These gifts are great for Mom, friends, partners — and can be bought online or at your local grocer and drug store.

If you’ve been putting off buying Christmas gifts this year, don’t worry, you’re not completely screwed.

Yes, the pandemic has made buying presents a bit more challenging this year, what with lockdowns being enforced across the country and many businesses requiring long lead times for orders to ensure delivery by Christmas Eve.

Still, if you’ve missed the window for ordering a gift for a loved one, we have many last-minute Christmas gift ideas that we think you’ll love.

Check out our fun gift ideas below.

Note: If you’re on a mobile device, click on the slideshow below to see pictures of the items, and see a description of the items below the slideshow.

All product choices are made independently by our editors. HuffPost Canada may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.

Last-Minute Christmas Gifts

A tarot reading

Should you start a business in 2021? Should you try for a baby? Should you eat that last Arrowroot cookie? Tarot readers have had to move their business online since the pandemic began, so now you can get your cards read from the comfort of your own home, and just maybe you’ll find the confidence, and some guidance, to help get you to where you want to be in the new year. Book a live tarot reading at Inner Goddess Tarot.

A streaming service membership

There are so many options now, from Netflix, Prime Video, CraveTV, Apple TV+ and Disney+ to more specialized streaming services such as BritBox for Anglophiles, NHL Live for the hockey lover and Hayu for the reality TV addict.

Bake goodies

A tin of cookies (homebaked, naturally) will go over really well with a gift recipient, young or old. Who can resist classic holiday treats like Nanaimo bars, shortbread cookies or chocolate bark? No one, that’s who. Get recipe ideas here.

“The Nutcracker” on screen

For many families it’s tradition to see a production of “The Nutcracker” every December, but thanks to the pandemic, it’s not possible to see live theatre this year. So, the National Ballet of Canada teamed up with Cineplex so you can watch a previously-recorded production from the comfort of home. Buy the stream here.

A really nice moisturizer and lip balm

Our souls are suffering, but damn it, we won’t let our skin suffer, too. Trot over to a drug store and pick out a nice moisturizer and lip balm that will soothe a loved one’s skin and protect it from the harsh winter elements. We suggest Honest Beauty’s Hydrogel Cream and Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lip Balm, both of which you can find at Shoppers Drug Mart.

A donation in their name

There are so many charities that need our help this year, so find out what causes your loved one supports and make a donation in their name. If you need ideas now, causes that need our support include senior care, ending hunger, protecting the environment, animal welfare, Indigenous communities, mental health, housing, and ending gender-based violence. Find a charity to support here.

Make them dinner

If you’re still out of ideas, a homemade dinner will go over very well. Cook your loved one their favourite foods and make it extra special with a few finishing touches, like flowers or candles on the table, a playlist of songs that are meaningful to both of you, and a bottle of your favourite booze to cap off the night. Get dinner ideas here.

Sew It! Academy classes

If you know someone who has a sewing machine gathering dust and they just need that extra push to learn how to use it, give them a subscription to Sew It! Academy, a members-only online space that teaches you how to sew and level up your skills. Get a free trial here.

Gift certificate to a local restaurant or coffee shop

Restaurants are struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic, so if you know a loved one’s favourite local haunt, a gift certificate for that spot will not only brighten the gift recipient’s day, it will also make a small business owner smile.

Stitch subscription

Sourdough is out and cross-stitch and embroidery are in! If a loved one is planning on spending the whole of winter inside (power to them, #StayHome and all that), they’ll most likely need a new hobby to get addicted to. Enter Canadian maker Kiriki Press’ stitch sampler club, a quarterly subscription that teaches stitches to beginner and seasoned stitchers alike with a new sampler delivered to your door every three months. Get the subscription here.

Night at a hotel

This one is for all the exhausted parents in your life. Give them the best gift of all, the gift of rest and alone time, with a one-night (or if you’re feeling generous, a whole weekend) stay at a hotel. Even better, give them a gift certificate to the hotel’s spa services. You’ll be their favourite person forever. Get a Fairmont Hotels and Resorts gift card here.

Grocery or dollar store gift card

The holidays can be tough financially on many of us, so if you know someone who’s struggling, offer them a gift card to a local grocery or dollar store. This way they don’t have to worry about putting food on the table, and can spend some of their hard-earned money on gifts for loved ones. Buy gift cards at Metro, President’s Choice, Sobeys and Dollarama.

Hot chocolate mix

Sure, you could buy a can of hot choco powder at the grocery store. But if you want something more personal, make your own hot chocolate mix (get a recipe here) with your own cocoa powder, sugar and marshmallows. Throw the mix in a mason jar, write out a note of instructions, tie it up with a ribbon and you’ve got yourself one hell of a cute gift.

Magazine subscription

Help a loved one while away the hours with a subscription to a Canadian magazine you think they’ll enjoy. Are they into politics and culture? Try This Magazine. What about the arts? Check out Maisonneuve. Are they curious about spirituality and ethical living? Broadview Magazine might be the mag for them. Are they a parent of young kids? Today’s Parent has their back. Do they like reading about pressing issues that face Canadians? The Walrus will get them thinking and talking.

Fancy chocolates

If a drug store or grocery store are your only options right now, head to the treats section and pick out the fanciest, most delicious box of chocolates you can find. May we suggest Toblerone (a holiday classic), Lindt truffles and Guylian Belgian chocolate sea shells?

Gift card for food delivery

If you don’t know a loved one’s favourite place to eat, give them the gift of choosing for themselves with a gift card to a food delivery service. Get them at Uber Eats, Skip the Dishes and DoorDash.

MasterClass membership

If the person in your life has a thirst for learning and you don’t know where to start, give them a MasterClass membership so they can choose their own education. Teachers include Gordon Ramsay (cooking), Annie Leibovitz (photography), Anna Wintour (leadership), Margaret Atwood (creative writing), Timbaland (producing and beatmaking), and Chris Hadfield (space exploration), just for starters. Give a membership here.


Flowers aren’t just for spring and summer — gorgeous winter blooms will brighten up any home, including the classic poinsettia, as well as snowdrops, holly bushes, Christmas cactus, and winter honeysuckle. Not only are they nice to look at, but flowers can also make you feel less stressed and more compassionate towards others. Get a bunch at your local flower shop or grocer.

Gift certificate to local bookseller

Know a voracious reader but don’t want to buy them a book for fear they’ll already have it? Help out a small business by getting a gift certificate to a local independent bookseller. Or, if the bookshop offers it, ask their staff for their recommendations! Check out a list of local Canadian bookshops here and here.


If all else fails, go with socks. Get a pair at Shoppers Drug Mart.

WATCH: Thoughtful gifts for your friends:

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