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last minute gift ideasSo you totally forgot to get a birthday present for a good friend or send a Christmas card to a close relative?  The time for a punctual delivery has passed and you’re in a mess. What can you do?

Well, let’s hope they have internet access because that could save your rear end. You can still prepare a lovely surprise and send it to them in time. After all, a virtual delivery is instant.

Best of all, the following last minute gift ideas are all free, at least for the moment. Gifts don’t have to be expensive, it’s the thought that counts.

1. Greeting Card

The most obvious last minute gift idea would be to send an electronic greeting card. There are many sites out there that offer free templates. Hallmark and Yahoo! Greetings now charge for eCards. Free eCards can be sent with sites such as 123Greetings & eGreetings.

Care2

The mission of Care2 is to support people living a healthy and green lifestyle. Their free eCards are of a very high quality with unique designs and animations. You can personalize your card, have it sent on a specific date, and receive a notification when it was picked up.

As a member of Care2, you will collect butterfly credits for each greeting card and you can redeem the credits for meaningful gifts, such as safe drinking water or carbon offsets. What a great way to salve your conscience.

last minute gift ideas

YouTube Holiday Cards

If you’re not a shy person and up for fun, why not produce a little video and surprise someone?  Saikat wrote an article on how to Send Video Greeting Cards with YouTube.

2. Virtual Flowers

Greeting cards are all the same. Flowers, however, express a different message, even if they are only virtual. Virtual Florist and eFlowerGrams provide a wonderful selection.

flowers2mail

By far the most original virtual flowers can be sent with flowers2mail. You can arrange an individual bouquet, select a vase, and fill in a little greeting card. Et voilà, your flowers are ready to be mailed, up to 15 days in advance.

last minute gift ideas

3. Calendar

It’s not difficult to make a calendar. All you need is a free online tool, some unique motifs, and Adobe Acrobat Reader to open and print your calendar.

strong>My Calendar Maker

unusual gift ideas

To create a free personalized calendar, you have to register with the site. You can choose between different calendar layouts (full-size, half-size, tear-off), pick the start month/year and end month/year, upload your images, add captions of up to 100 characters, add or remove special occasions, for example birthdays and anniversaries, add a cover and a title, and finally save and print your calendar. Quick and very easy.

The creators also offer My Free Calendar Maker, which creates non-personalized calendars. With the Yearly Calendar Maker, you can create a personalized yearly calendar. The advantage of both tools is that you don’t have to sign up.

4. Gift Certificate

Using a gift certificate you can give one of the most precious gifts of all: time.

Invite your friend for a home cooked dinner and spend an entire evening with them; offer your grandma to stock up her supplies, so that she doesn’t need to go shopping as often or carry heavy items; volunteer to mow the lawn of your parents’ house once a month; or help your friends with babysitting the kids and/or pets, so they can spend some time alone.

To make your job easier, you can use ready-made templates and fill them in with your details.

Ivy’s Gift Certificate Maker

The beauty of this gift certificate maker is that it provides you with a list of ideas of what you can possibly give. So simply tick an option in one of the gift giving categories (kids to parents, parents to kids, friends to friends etc.), add the recipient’s and your name, and preview the result.

unusual gift ideas

This tool also suggests to make a coupon book, i.e. printing multiple certificates and stapling them together. This can make a lovely gift.

Regiftable Personalized Gift Certificate

Need it custom and chic, but very simple and most of all fast? On this site you can choose from five seasonal templates and create up to three certificates at once. They will look like the example below. Quick and easy.

unusual gift ideas

You can either print each certificate or save and mail them.

5. Music Playlist

If you want to make a very personal and instant gift, think of the music that connects you and your friend or relative. Every life, friendship, and relationship has its own soundtrack. Or maybe you know someone who loves to discover new music.

You can sit down and record a CD or tape. There are some simpler options though. You can create an online playlist on several different sites.

Actionext

This site provides a simple way to produce playlists without having to sign in. Simply search for songs, from the results list click the plus next to a song to add it and continue to search. Once down click Save and share the URL.

unique holiday gifts

MixTape.me

To create and share a permanent playlist with MixTape.me you have to get an account and sign in. But once you have passed that point you’re set to create something awesome. You could make several playlists with different purposes. For example one to cheer up a friend, another to let your family drown in happy memories, and a third to show everyone which music you love best.

unique holiday gifts

David has written a thorough review on how to Build The Perfect Music Playlist With MixTapeMe Build The Perfect Music Playlist With MixtapeMe Build The Perfect Music Playlist With MixtapeMe Read More .

Have you completed your gift shopping yet? What are some last minute gifts you still need to pick up? Did you come up with a great last minute gift idea that would fit in this list? Please share!

Image credits: zerobug

  1. MyCalendarMaker
    January 15, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Thanks so much for including a link to our site in your post! We've gotten a lot of great traffic and we really appreciate the great write-up. Thanks, Tina, and Happy New Year!

  2. Seth
    January 11, 2010 at 2:10 am

    Thought, I would share a cool ecard site as well ! They have over 20,000 greetings for birthdays, anniversaries, and many other events that I have never even heard of... Feel free to check it out - http://www.123greetings.com/aff-bin/home/1838

  3. Andie
    December 22, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Hi,

    A great, socially conscious last-minute gift idea can be found at http://www.unicefgiftsofmagic.com

    Give the gift of health, education, or water (and much more) to a loved one. I gave the gift of play to my baby cousin who can now give back to a young child affected by conflict or disaster. These are wonderful and meaningful gifts and given through a credible organization, UNICEF. This way you're not buying a gift for the sake of buying and your money won't go to waste.

    Happy Holidays!

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