20 Last Minute Birthday Gifts Your Wife or Girlfriend Will Love

Thanks to technology, you can get a fantastic gift delivered overnight if you’ve waited until the last minute. I used to panic about what birthday gifts I could find in stores at the last minute, but now there are lots of options online.

Bestselling Jewelry

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amazon

Forget the crowded mall or the pushy jewelry store for birthday gift shopping. Order your wife or girlfriend one of the top 10 bestselling pieces of jewelry on Amazon and you’ll be all set. Next day delivery is your best friend.

 

Home Decorator for the HGTV Fan

homepolish
Homepolish

There are a few great start-ups now that offer interior design advice by the hour. If your wife or girlfriend is obsessed with HGTV and always talks about paint colors and furniture, she might love talking to a professional designer to about your own home. I know I would. And it’s something you can sign up for online at the last minute and print out for her birthday.

Backyard Pizza Oven

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pizzacraft

This is an amazing birthday gift if your wife or girlfriend likes to entertain or often hosts kids or adults at home. These pizza ovens are a lot of fun for guests and family of any age, and they make quick and delicious meals for small or large groups. They can also be ordered online at the last minute for next day delivery.

Lonely Planet 500 Places to Travel Book

lonely planet ultimate travel
lonely planet

This is one of the most beautiful coffee table books I’ve seen, and one that will inspire your girlfriend or wife to plan your next trip right away.  It shows beautiful, breathtaking photos of 500 places around the world to see, and you’ll want to hop on a plane as soon as you can. I love receiving books for my birthday, and they are easy to order at the last minute.

Wake Up Lamp

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Phillips

If your wife or girlfriend finds it tough to wake up in the morning, consider getting her this natural light wake up lamp, which grows increasingly bright in the morning to wake you up gradually with natural light instead of an abrupt alarm. You can order one online at the last minute for her birthday.

Instant Wine Chiller

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amazon

These wine chillers are an affordable and useful birthday gift for any wife or girlfriend who loves wine. You never have to worry about chilling that bottle ahead of time when you have an instant device that only takes a few minutes. This is perfect when guests show up with wine at the last minute.

Electric Wine Bottle Opener

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oster

Your wife or girlfriend will also love this electric bottle opener because she’ll never have to worry about awkwardly opening a bottle of wine again. You can forget those awkward corks with an electric bottle opener. Make it easy to open up that bottle on her birthday and every other day.

Weekend Getaway

last-minute-gift.jpgSurprise your wife or girlfriend with a last minute birthday trip. It can be a weekend trip somewhere close by, or think of all the destinations within a 2 hour flight of your home.

Coffee Maker/Espresso Machine

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Ninja Coffee Bar

Does your wife or girlfriend have a latte habit? You can make perfectly frothed, cafe-style coffee drinks at home with a home espresso machine. If you enjoy entertaining friends or family, they will be really impressed with your beautiful espresso drinks and iced coffees. You can order this as a birthday gift online at the last minute.

Jacket from Her Favorite Brand

lululemon
lululemon

Want your last minute birthday gift to be practical? Look at the tags on the jackets that your wife or girlfriend wears. Are they from J. Crew, Nike, Kate Spade, Lululemon, Michael Kors, Northface? Regardless of her style, it’s a good bet she’ll like another jacket from the same brand.

Purse from Her Favorite Brand

longchamp purse
longchamp

Same goes for purses. If your wife or girlfriend already has 3 Longchamp purses, she will likely like another style from the same brand. Yes, that’s the brand you see everywhere, especially at the airport. Women can never have too many purses, and this is something you can order online at the last minute before her birthday.

Dinner for a Week

doordashIf your wife or girlfriend normally takes care of dinner, take over the burden of dinner for 1 full week. Order food to be delivered on DoorDash or UberEats if you don’t want to cook. Start the week on her birthday.

Fancy Kitchen Appliances

vitamix
vitamix

For girlfriends or wives who like to cook, there are an infinite number of high end kitchen appliances and tools they’d love to have, including Kitchen Aid stand mixers, Instapots, Vitamix blenders, Magic Bullet blenders, Sous Vide precision cooking devices, and leave-in thermometers. For her birthday, spoil her by ordering one of these foodie gadgets, even if you have to do next day shipping at the last minute.

Robots

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ecovacs

The Roomba vacuum, which once aimlessly wandered around bumping into your furniture, is old news. There are powerful and affordable new robotic vacuums with impressive navigation technology that can save you a lot of time and effort now. I like the Ecovacs and Neato brands. You can order them online at the last minute before her birthday. Your girlfriend or wife might love robots too!

Smartwatch

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fossil

There are a lot of attractive options beyond the bulky, masculine looking Apple Watch. Lots of stylish brands including Michael Kors and Fossil now make smartwatches that your wife or girlfriend will love to wear too. You can order them online at the last minute before her birthday.

Massage

It’s hard for a girlfriend or wife to say no to a free massage. You can buy a gift certificate on Groupon for a local spa at the last minute and have a birthday gift printed out for your wife or girlfriend in 10 minutes.

Corkicle Stemless Glass

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corkicle

I love these triple-insulated cups for times when you need your drinks to be portable and spill-free. They work as well for hot coffee or tea as they do for chilled white wine – whatever your wife or girlfriend likes to drink. You don’t have to worry about spills, and the mug looks stylish and beautiful – much nicer than an ugly travel mug. This is a practical birthday gift you can order at the last minute.

Luxury Pajamas

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lunya

There are plenty of start-ups now focusing on updating the luxury sleepwear market. Modern pajamas are no longer heavy robes or baggy button down shirts, things you’d see on 90’s TV shows. Today’s pajamas are all about comfortable materials, soft and lightweight fabrics, and a great fit for your body type. Spoil your girlfriend or wife on her birthday by ordering some great pajamas. She won’t know you bought them at the last minute.

Designer Watch

kate spade watch
kate spade

I love getting new watches on my birthday even though I already have several of them. They are a great accessory that your wife or girlfriend can change depending on her outfit. Watches are more than just a convenient tool to keep track of time – they are a style accessory, and I tend to go back to the same designers I’ve worn before. Plus you can order them online at the last minute.

Gift a Ready Made Adventure Book from the Pixar Movie “Up”

I love the gift idea of a ready-made Adventure Book from the Pixar movie Up. It’s a brilliant way to assemble a bunch of pictures of your favorite adventures together, and it’s really easy and affordable. Adventure Books are way more exciting than a plain photo album and a lot of fun for kids or adults to put together.

adventure book
Adventure Book from the Pixar movie Up

We have so many photos on our iPhones these days that it would take forever to organize all of them into albums. So pick your top 3 favorite photos from each adventure and put them on a single page in this Adventure Book.

Nowadays, you don’t even have to go through the work of putting together a custom scrapbook anymore. You can order ready made Adventure Books online!

I saved myself a lot of time and effort by ordering a really inexpensive Adventure Book online. I am not a crafty person, and they make it so easy to put together your own  family scrapbooks, wedding books, or anniversary gifts. They look exactly like the one in the Pixar movie too!

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Amazon: Ready Made Adventure Books

Adventures could be fun weekend activities, family reunions, epic European vacations, fun things you’ve gotten to do through your job or places you’ve visited for work, or even big projects you complete together like a backyard garden.

Or adventures could mean your first apartment, your first time living in a new place, or your first summer on your own.

Kids love putting these adventure books together at the end of the summer to remember all the great memories before school starts again. It’s a fun project for them to use their creativity.

Like the movie, my Adventure Book has blank pages with tentative plans for future things I want to do, like a Bucket List.

Have a great idea for a gift? Let us know here!

10 Traditional 1, 2, and 3 Year Wedding Anniversary Gifts for Him

I’m a 30 year old urban yuppie looking for cool anniversary gifts that fall under the traditional themes by year – 1) paper, 2) cotton, 3) leather, 4) linen/silk, and 5) wood.

At first I wondered if it would be a bad idea to restrict ourselves to this anniversary tradition by year, but after brainstorming the first 5 years of gift ideas, I actually like having a narrower field of options. It simplifies the gift giving process.

This is my secret log of traditional anniversary gift ideas for Years 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Feel free to steal any ideas and share your ideas here too.

1st Wedding Anniversary: Paper

A paper anniversary gift sounds simple enough, but it’s easy to go too DIY with this one and I’m trying to avoid boring handmade gifts.

Folded Book Art

Amazon

I stumbled across this custom Folded Book Art, which allows you to get your initials or wedding date (or any text) formed by the folded pages of a real book. You have to order in advance, especially if you want them to use a specific book of your liking and not a random one, but if you have a mutual favorite book, this could be a really stunning paper gift for your first anniversary.

Bucket List Book

Amazon

I’ve been thinking about assembling a bucket list for a while now, and using a Bucket List book seems like a useful way to get new ideas and organize some real plans. Most Bucket List books seem to be focused on travel experiences, and I want to make sure I have activities on there other than just vacations. There are plenty of things that we can experience and accomplish together that don’t require leaving the country.

2nd Wedding Anniversary: Cotton

Clothes are the first thing that come to mind when I think of the traditional cotton anniversary, which makes this tough. Fortunately, there are some other fabric-related gifts I’ve stumbled across.

BoldLoft Pillowcases

boldloft pillow
BoldLoft

These pillowcases are a fun way to commemorate your second wedding anniversary and can be used on a couch or on neighboring chairs if you are picky about your thread counts and don’t want to actually sleep on them. There are a few cute designs to choose from, so you could get a few different ones and rotate through them. I like that these are a modern way to stick to the traditional cotton theme.

Luxury Hotel Bed Sheets or Comforter

hotel collection sheets
Hotel Collection

I would love a new set of luxury bedding that’s like what you would find at the Ritz Carlton or the Four Seasons. It’s not that expensive either to order really nice Egyptian Cotton sheets online and an equally soft duvet cover. Since it’s affordable to re-create that luxurious environment in your own home, I’m all for it and suspect that this will be a useful cotton gift.

3rd Wedding Anniversary: Leather

Whew! This one’s relatively easy because there are a lot of nice leather options for gifts in general. I think the traditional third leather anniversary is my favorite theme.

Etsy Custom Leather

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Etsy

One of my favorite places to shop for modern or traditional leather gifts is on Etsy because you can get almost anything customized on there.  Just doing a general leather search brought up a bunch of interesting products I had never seen before (and admit that I kind of want to buy for myself). I love the personalized leather wallets, catch-all trays, key chains, and photo frames – all of which can be used to celebrate a wedding anniversary.

Leather Laptop Sleeve or Bag

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Leatherology

If you are looking for a more practical gift that can be used for work, I love these beautiful leather sleeves for laptops and tablets.  You can get these monogrammed for a lovely personal touch, and it adds a level of professionalism to slip your computer out of a leather sleeve at a meeting. Of course there are also leather backpacks, weekend bags, and tote bags that would make nice wedding anniversary gifts too. You can go as traditional or as modern as you want.

4th Wedding Anniversary: Linen & Silk (UK: Fruit & Flowers)

I don’t know why there’s suddenly room for confusion in Year 4 when the other years are pretty clear cut. Is it linen OR silk or linen AND silk? Why do the US and UK differ so widely on this one? It doesn’t matter because neither material makes this gift easy.

Linen Photo Book

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Shutterfly

I ordered a photo book with a linen hardcover for my wedding album, and it looks classic and elegant (and a bit traditional), so I’m thinking about ordering another one for the our fourth linen anniversary. I made the first one on MyPublisher, which has since been acquired and merged into Shutterfly. There are plenty of other websites that allow you to design photo albums with fabric covers, so I will be shopping around next time.

Silk Scarf for Men or Women

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Nordstrom

I’ve noticed lately that a lot of nice wool scarves (both men’s and women’s) are actually blended with silk to create that smoother texture. There are plenty of scarves made of modal & silk blends and cotton & silk blends too. They are soft and lightweight too, as you’d expect from luxurious fabrics. Surprisingly, I’ve found some beautiful, handmade silk scarves made in Europe on Etsy, which would be a nice addition to any outfit and a creative play on the traditional silk anniversary theme.

5th Wedding Anniversary: Wood

I love technology and all of the doors it has opened to customizing wood and bringing the natural texture and color of wood into our homes. When you reach your fifth wedding anniversary, you are more likely to be thinking about customizing your home, which makes the traditional wood theme an interesting gift.

Reclaimed Wood Furniture

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Amazon

I have long admired reclaimed wood furniture pieces that put a modern twist on a traditional element, such as these georgeous tree stump side tables on hairpin legs. Industrial modern design and mid-century modern styles are so popular these days and put a lovely contemporary spin on traditional wood furniture. These handmade wooden pieces used to be very expensive only a couple of years ago but are now remarkably affordable online. I bought one and it looks fantastic in our home.

Photos on Wood

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Photobarn

I love this updated take on photos. There are quite a few sites that will affordably print your photos onto wood these days. I’ve seen the output of several different attempts (Photobarn, Woodsnap, Etsy, etc), and they all turned out quite lovely. I would print wedding photos or family photos on these for a sentimental wood anniversary gift.

An Anniversary Time Capsule to Open in 5 or 10 Years

bullet thermos
amazon

There are so many creative ways you can use time capsules as last minute anniversary gifts!

  • Start a capsule and add 1 item to it every year
  • Create a capsule that you don’t open again for 10 years, or on your 10th or 20th anniversary
  • Create a capsule of items that your kids can open 10 years from now

Time capsules can be as simple as finding a box you already have and filling it with meaningful items at the last minute. If you want to get fancier, you can buy an inexpensive bullet thermos that looks like a futuristic time capsule! For some reason, its really hard to just buy a tubular container that is meant to be a time capsule, so you have to improvise!

So what do you put in this time capsule?

  • Photos
  • Wedding photos or memorabilia
  • Things that remind you of special experiences, like concert tickets, ticket stubs from your travels and vacations, receipts from anniversary meals, etc
  • Front page of today’s newspaper
  • Time Capsule book, a shortcut method of capturing what your life is like today (what your typical day is like, what important decisions you’ve made lately, your hopes and fears, your advice for your future self, your favorite music and food at the moment, who you are spending your time with, what fun trips you’ve done lately)

time capsule for two book

Practical Luxury 101: Monthly Anniversary Gift Box Subscriptions

Munchpak

Subscription gift box services are all the rage these days! Who doesn’t like to receive a surprise gift in the mail every month?

If you’re looking for a birthday or anniversary gift idea that keeps on giving, there are so many types of gift boxes that you are likely to find one that’s a perfect fit for your recipient, men or women, younger or older.

Would your girlfriend or wife love to receive a monthly surprise gift containing…

  1. Chocolate samples from around the world
  2. Fun and educational crafts  for kids
  3. Samples of luxury beauty products
  4. The latest healthy food and lifestyle products for health nuts
  5. Organic treats for your dog or cat
  6. The most popular new organic food and snacks from around the country
  7. Greeting cards and stationery
  8. Freshly roasted coffee samples from around the country
  9. Wine
  10. Cookies of the month
  11. Nail polish and nail products
  12. Baby toys
  13. Helpful products for pregnant women
  14. New vegan and gluten free food products
  15. Care packages for college students
  16. Handcrafted cured meats
  17. Creative snacks from around the world
  18. Cute products from Japan and Korea
  19. Dessert samplers
  20. Cocktails and cocktail ingredients
  21. Craft beers from around the country
  22. Luxury grooming products for men

This is only a short list of all of the subscription boxes out there these days, but there are many themes that could make a perfect anniversary gift. You usually have the flexibility to sign up for 1 month, 3 months, or 6 months or more of gift deliveries.

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Surf Shop Box

I would pick the monthly cookie sampler for myself, but I would order one of the amazing organic snack samplers to be delivered to my office every month too. Forget anniversary gifts – I started searching for boxes for myself!

The luxury beauty products and fashion accessories boxes are a great anniversary gift for women, and the carnivore, beer, or vice boxes are a great anniversary gift for men.

There are also great art and home decor options for those who want some artistic inspiration on their anniversary.

I selected a very interesting Japanese-themed gift box to try called Bokksu. They send you a monthly box with premium, delicious snacks from different regions of Japan, specific to the season, along with a unique tea to pair with your snacks. For example, I received a box with autumn-themed snacks from Kyoto. I loved sampling the different flavors, and the packaging was lovely and delicately handled like most high quality Japanese products. I’m ordering a 3 month subscription for a friend for her birthday.

bokksu
Bokksu Japanese Snacks

Check out the gift box review website Cratejoy to screen for the perfect anniversary boxes for your significant other. We have no affiliation with Cratejoy – we are just fans.

Practical Luxury 101: Leather Anniversary Gifts for Your Husband or Wife

Sometimes the best anniversary gifts are what I call practical luxuries – items that look beautiful and well-made but are also very useful tools in your everyday life.

leatherology
leatherology

Have you ever seen a luxurious leather wallet or purse that just looked like a really expensive, high end product? High quality, soft leather looks elegant and classy but doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive. That’s why leather anniversary gifts can be a great idea for men or women.

Leather is traditionally the gift for your 3rd wedding anniversary, but it’s actually a fantastic gift for any year.

Classic traditional gift items could include monogrammed leather wallets, purses, cosmetic bags, tote bags, and messenger bags.

leatherology cosmetic bag
leatherology

But nowadays there are also more modern and creative leather gifts including jewelry organizers, iPhone or iPad cases, backpacks, laptop sleeves, cross-body iPhone bags, wine totes, weekender duffel bags, document cases, and other useful everyday items.

If you are looking for an anniversary gift idea that is both beautiful and practical, check out sites like Etsy or Leatherology for lovely, affordable leather products. We have no affiliation with either site. We are just fans.

For traditional wedding anniversary gifts such as paper, cotton, leather, linen/silk, and wood, check out our 10 Traditional Wedding Anniversary Gifts by Year for Urban Yuppies (Year 1-5).

Your Favorite Photos Printed on Wood, Glass, Metal, or Canvas for a Modern Twist

It’s incredible that the technology for printing photos on all kinds of materials – wood, glass, metal, or canvas – is so widely available and affordable these days.

I have a lot of standard framed family photos, and I wanted something new and different that could add a modern but warm tone to my walls. I loved the idea of modern art on canvas, but modern art is not very personal. When I started exploring the possibilities with photos, I was blown away. I am never putting a photo in a traditional frame again.

I started with 4 different options. I decided to pick one for now, but I eventually would love to try them all, whether for my own home or as gifts.

  1. Woodsnap – Photos on Wood
  2. Costco – Photos on Metal
  3. Fracture – Photos on Glass
  4. Shutterfly – Photos on Canvas

Photos on Wood

woodsnapThere are quite a few online services in this area now, including Woodsnap, Photo Barn, Prints on Wood, and even Shutterfly. These are really popular options for wedding gifts and anniversary gifts. After reviewing all of these sites, it was difficult to tell a difference in terms of product selection and quality. I don’t know whether they are all using the same method to transfer the photos to wood, but they do look like a really nice end product to display in your home.

Photos on Metal

costco metal printsThin metal prints with a glossy coating would also be a nice modern twist for a photo hanging in your home. The lack of a frame and the use of rounded edges gives them a distinct modern look. There are several online vendors for metal prints, including Costco, Shutterfly, Mpix, and even Walgreens. When it comes to larger sized prints, these are more affordable than wood or glass prints. As with wood prints, selecting photos with a light colored background allows the subtle metal color to shine through.

Photos on Glass

fracture photos on glassGlass prints are a niche segment, with the Florida-based company Fracture being the key player. Fracture actually prints your photos directly on a thin sheet of glass, which is then mounted on a solid foam backing. While this seems perfect for very colorful, contemporary photos like wedding or anniversary photos, I don’t know if it’s the best option for older family photos or black and white photos that tend to be lower resolution. Still, I love the low profile look of these glass prints that are nearly flush with the wall. As you might expect, they are much more expensive than wood prints or metal prints.

Photos on Canvas

shutterfly photos on canvasAfter spending hours looking at beautiful photos printed on wood, metal, and glass, it was a bit underwhelming to look at the options for photos printed on canvas. Maybe I am just used to canvas as a material for art rather than photos. Maybe I was seduced by the low profile of the metal and glass prints. Then I checked the prices and that was the final straw. There’s no way I’m paying a premium for a canvas print when the other options are more attractive.

Winner: Woodsnap

After much agonizing, I eventually decided on Woodsnap because I liked the unique look of the wood grains coming through in the image, the visual layouts on their website, and the periodic discounts offered on the site that allowed me to afford multiple prints.

It took a long time to decide which photos I wanted to print. Because you can’t just swap it out for another photo down the road, I really had to think hard about what photos were really timeless. I ended up choosing old family photos that I know will be just as interesting to look at 20 years from now as they are today.

Now it’s easy to upload any recent photo from Instagram or Facebook to print on wood, but for these old family photos, I had to take the time to scan the physical photo and make sure the quality was good enough for printing. I was a little worried that the resolution wouldn’t be good enough, and it was hard to tell on the screen whether they would be blurry or not once they were printed. I decided to chose a smaller piece of wood (8×8) thinking that it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for a low resolution photo.

Overall, the results were great! I am really pleased with how all of the prints turned out.

But I did learn a few things:

  • It’s better to pick a photo with lighter colors so that you can still seen the wood grain in the background when it’s printed. One of the photos I submitted had a dark backdrop, which covered up all signs of the wood so it might as well have been printed on a board.
  • One of my lower resolution photos did not turn out as well as the rest. It was an old childhood photo that wasn’t the sharpest to start out with, so I knew I was taking a chance. I will still hang it up on the wall and enjoy it, but I would not order another print with that kind of photo again.
  • Plan ahead of time what the layout of your wall is going to look like. It can be tricky if you are ordering prints of different sizes to organize them on the wall afterwards.

Have you found a unique photo printing service that you’d recommend? Let us know here!

10 Last Minute Gifts That My Mom and Mother-in-Law Actually Liked

These are real last minute gifts that I’ve purchased for my mom and mother-in-law (both over age 60) over the years. They are the toughest family members to shop for, so I give it a lot of thought, even though most of the time I’m doing last minute gift shopping. My mom is a much tougher gift recipient than my mother-in-law, and they both have their unique quirks. Feel free to steal these ideas if they can make your life any easier.

Electric Blanket

electric blanket
amazon

I was reluctant to give this last minute gift to my mom but my mother-in-law happens to have an electric blanket that she loves and has used reliably for 20 years. I ordered one online with next day shipping. To my surprise, my mom actually loved it and uses it a lot in the winter when she feels cold in bed. Older people tend to feel colder in the winter. It heats up quickly when you hold down the button and there’s an auto shut off feature, so it’s safe and easy to use.

Broadway Show Tickets

wicked-playbillI found out a popular Broadway show was touring in my city and bought last minute tickets for a group of family members including my mother-in-law. She didn’t know what to expect when she opened up the gift as she had never been to a musical before, but she ended up enjoying it and feeling like it was a unique experience. If another popular show comes to town, I would try to get tickets for her again.

Dessert Wine or Wine Gift Set

I didn’t want to gift my mother-in-law a regular bottle of wine, so I went with a Canadian ice wine at the last minute because it seemed more unique and special. We’ve also brought her Rieslings and Muscat-based wines in the past as she seems to be a fan of dessert wines. It’s not a completely unique gift idea, but it’s nice to bring in addition to dessert when we go over for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners, and you can always pick up a bottle at the last minute. If your mom or mother-in-law is a wine lover, you could consider giving her a nice gift set too.

 Full Cleaning and Detail for the Car

car on roadMy mother-in-law really appreciated this last minute gift, mainly because she didn’t need to schedule a time to bring the car to the detail shop herself. We asked her if we could take the car for 5 hours on a Saturday, picked it up at her house, and brought it back clean, shiny, and thoroughly vacuumed later that day. We ordered the full detail service where they wash and wax the car, wipe down the interiors, and vacuum the seats and floors. It was like a new car when we picked it up.

Coffee Bean Grinder

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capresso

My mom drinks coffee daily and has only recently become a fan of freshly ground coffee that was roasted within the last 2 weeks. When she initially opened the package, however, she flat out said that she didn’t need the gift. It was too expensive, and she definitely had no counter space for it. My dad persuaded her to try it as he was more curious about the idea than she was, and they now use it all the time. Another good last minute gift idea would have been a new coffee maker that grinds and brews. You can order them online with next day shipping.

Photo Calendar

shutterfly-calendar
shutterfly

I thought this would just be an “oh that’s nice” gift but both my mom and mother-in-law really loved their respective calendars. They were so impressed with how large and clearly printed the photos were. It was almost like having 12 enlarged, framed photos, which they found to be unique. Neither wanted to write anything on the calendar because they wanted to save it and preserve it. You can’t wait until the very last minute for this one, but there are rush shipping options.

 Instant Kettle

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oxo

My mother-in-law was still using a tea kettle to boil water, so we got her an electric kettle with precise temperature settings that you can select, and she loved the gift. It wasn’t unique to her because she knew they existed, but she had never gotten around to buying one for herself. She drinks a lot of hot beverages throughout the year, so she loves that you can set the exact temperature and that it heats up the water so quickly. We picked it up at the last minute at Target.

Fleece Jacket

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patagonia

My mom doesn’t really like the idea of receiving any kind of clothing as a a gift, especially anything expensive, but my mother-in-law likes receiving comfortable athletic clothing like REI sweaters, North Face jackets, and Patagonia vests. I’ve gifted her a nice fleece jacket and a hoodie that I found on sale at the last minute at a sporting goods outlet. The problem is that you can’t give her a new jacket every year, so you have to change it up a bit or else it gets repetitive.

Luxury Bedsheets

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amazon

My mom liked this gift but she didn’t love it. She is particular about down comforters, duvet covers, memory foam pillows, and bedding materials. She goes to Bed Bath and Beyond and walks up and down the bed sheet aisles checking out all the unique materials and scoping out sale items. But my mother-in-law isn’t picky about bedding so this idea really fell flat with her. She couldn’t care less if her bed sheets were Egyptian Cotton or 750 thread count Pima Sateen. But why shouldn’t your home bedding be as luxurious as in a hotel?

Gift Certificate for Home Cleaning

the-ritz-carlton-waffle-slippers-rtz-458-wl-wh-os_xlrgI initially thought this would be a really useful and easy last minute gift that I found on Groupon. I thought it would help out my mother-in-law by relieving her of the burden of cleaning, but she didn’t want it because she doesn’t trust strangers in her house. She has never used a cleaning service for anything in her life. I still really like this idea and would personally love to receive a last minute gift like this, but it was not a good choice for her.

 

Publish Your Own Books for Photos, Family Recipes, and Travel

The ability to publish your own professional-looking hardcover or softcover books these days is incredible.

It doesn’t just have to be a photo book anymore. It could be a family recipe book, a custom children’s book, a personal travel log, a book of poems, a personal memoir…. anything!

Anyone can use a number of publishing websites to design beautiful custom books. The most affordable options are Costco, Shutterfly, Walgreens, or CVS.

If you want to get a little fancier (which will be very tempting once you see how lovely these books are), your options include:

Blurb

An advanced publishing platform for anyone to publish books and magazines (and even sell them online)

blurb photo book
Photo Credit: http://www.blurb.com

MyPublisher

The publisher with the most customization options, for those who love to spend hours figuring out the perfect layout and design

mypublisher photo book
Photo Credit: http://www.mypublisher.com

Mixbook

A relatively new publishing site that allows you to throw together an elegant photo book quickly without having to make a lot of design decisions

mixbook photo book
Photo Credit: http://www.mixbook.com

Kolo

Kolo, the makers of perhaps the nicest physical photo albums you can find, offers these lovely custom options for publishing your own books online

kolo photo book
Photo Credit: http://www.kolo.com

Day of Travel Checklist

It’s 6 am and you’re groggy because you stayed up late packing, but now you’re in a rush to go to the airport to catch your flight.

As you walk out your front door, you wonder, “Is there something I’m forgetting to do around the house before I leave?”

Did I turn all the lights off? Did I take the trash out? Did I pack the cell phone charger that I usually keep next to my bed? Did I adjust the thermostat so the air conditioning or heating isn’t running the whole time I’m on vacation?

This is the perfect moment to have a checklist, so you can feel confident as you’re running out of the house that you’ve done everything you need to do.

CHECKLIST – THINGS TO DO BEFORE LEAVING HOME

  • Refrigerator – Throw out anything in the refrigerator that’s perishable. You don’t want to come home to moldy food in the fridge.
  • Trash – Take out the trash. Coming home to the scent of 5 day old garbage is not pleasant either.
  • Thermostat – Adjust the thermostat to an eco-friendly temperature so you aren’t spending tons of money to heat or cool your home while you’re out of town.
  • Security Alarm – Remember to set any security alarms or remote monitoring webcams before you go out of town.
  • Alarm Clock – Turn off your alarm clock so it doesn’t beep for days while you are gone.
  • Unplug Appliances – If you have space heaters, toasters, hair dryers, hot water dispensers, humidifiers, or other potential hazards, it’s a good idea to unplug them before you go out of town.
  • Check Mail – If you’ll be gone for more than couple days, it could really pile up. Make arrangements for a friend to pick up your mail if you anticipate it overflowing, or if your unchecked mail would be a very obvious signal to a potential intruder that you aren’t home.
  • Windows and Doors – Close all windows, close all blinds and curtains, and lock all doors.
  • Turn off Lights
  • Cell Phone Charger

THINGS TO BRING ON THE PLANE OR IN THE CAR

car on road

Pre-Roadtrip Checklist

  • Music – Download music to your offline playlist so you have plenty of music for the car ride.
  • Podcasts – There are lots of free podcasts that you can find on the Podcast app of the iPhone, whether you’re interested in celebrity interviews, entrepreneurship, or learning a new language. Download a few while you have a wifi connection so you can listen offline.
  • Audiobooks – Unfortunately there’s not a wide selection of free audiobooks available, but if you’re willing to pay a few bucks, this is a great way to get through your reading list.
  • iPad with movies or games
  • Snacks and water
  • Coffee
  • Full tank of gas
  • Sunglasses

last-minute-gift

Pre-Flight Checklist

These items might be more important for your comfort during longer flights.

  • Neck pillow
  • Foot rest – A necessity for shorter passengers
  • Lower back support cushion
  • Blanket
  • Eye mask
  • Snacks
  • Medicine – For those who are vulnerable to motion sickness, allergies, headaches
  • Reading material