Admit it: It is that time of year when you have to show that your last-minute gift was the plan. You’re about to be bombarded with dozens of news articles about how to shop this holiday season. You’ll ignore them all. You’ll hear the countdown that it’s 30 days until Christmas. You’ll miss this, too. You’ll watch the news and see the Black Friday shoppers form their scrum in the wee hours and freezing cold. You’ll laugh and shake your head.
You are a last-minute shopper. Join the crowd. While some people have mastered planning, you have not. You’re not alone: A survey of 40,000 consumers found that 79% of shoppers left their holiday shopping until the last minute.
We’ve all been there. Time slips away, and we’re panicking as we stare at websites that no longer can guarantee delivery in time for an important holiday. Or we’re driving to a family gathering and suddenly realize that we never bought a gift. The easy solution: make a quick stop at the convenience store, buy a stuffed animal or chocolates, write “From YOUR NAME” on the very generous one-message line provided on the attached card, and breathe a sigh of relief.
To the recipient, though, it can also send another message: You weren’t thoughtful.
You know that’s unfair. Last-minute shopping doesn’t have to be synonymous with I-don’t-care shopping. The demands of life and the scarcity of free time can prevent us from spending more time finding that “perfect” gift. But with just a little effort, there are still ways to create a wonderful, meaningful gift, even if we’re buying at the last minute.
Show That You Know Them
We all have friends and family who are unlike any other company you keep. Everyone is unique and has certain traits, hobbies, or experiences that have brought people into your life.
- Whether you have friends who are sports fanatics or self-proclaimed foodies, it isn’t hard to find a gift that fits their persona, even at the last minute.
- A gift card can be an excellent solution for this. Finding one for a brand you know they love or one that supports an interest of theirs (what golfer wouldn’t love a TopGolf gift card?) shows you are gifting with your friends in mind. Recipients welcome gift cards, even for the holidays. Seventy-three percent of adults feel that giving gift cards for Christmas is acceptable.
Adding a personal touch to any gift is always the right move, regardless of the occasion. Even if you bought your gift at the very last minute, you can still easily ensure that your gift includes some level of creativity.
- Add a photo or design a quick doodle to a physical card. Print out digital photos of you and the recipient and use that as wrapping paper for your gift.
- Digital cards, or e-cards, also allow you to be creative. Part of the reason I started CardSnacks was to enable people to create cards in a way that could never have been done before.
- You can add music, photos, and videos to make a genuinely one-of-a-kind, highly personalized multimedia greeting card. This can make even an off-the-shelf gift truly personalized for both the giver and the receiver.
Find the Right Words
Gifts by themselves are just part of the equation. Giving is also about letting people know you care and celebrate them.
- Too many people rely on the pre-printed words of a greeting card and add “Love, Mom, and Dad” to the end. Even if you’re not Shakespeare, you can show you care by writing something from your heart.
- It doesn’t have to be an essay. Instead, you can say something simple like,
- “I appreciate our ten years of friendship this Hanukkah,”
- “Thank you for making our eighth Christmas together my favorite gift this year.” It makes the message around the gift you’re giving so much more meaningful – even if you only picked it out an hour before.
So, relax. So, you didn’t plan. So, you missed Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So what? With some simple maneuvers, your last-minute gift can still make a lasting impression.
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