The Gift Certificate Last Minute Gift Guide

5 years ago

You left it until the last minute, didn't you? Now it's the end of December and you haven't bought one gift. Never fear! I've put together five ideas for great gift certificates that you can get until the eleventh hour.

Make Gift Certificates for Your Mad Skillz

Hearkening back to the cute coupons you give for free backrubs, this idea translates beautifully for almost anyone. For example, I'm a writer and editor, so I could give a gift certificate for five hours of resume writing, college-paper proofreading, PTA newsletter writing, whatever! I also have mad skillz in leaf raking, closet organization and bill filing -- but I could use some help with personal shopping, makeup applying, baking and tree trimming. Barter your way to a happy holiday! You can even snazz up your gift certificates with your own little company's logo at Vistaprint.

Credit Image: Aine D on Flickr


Gift Card of the Month Club

I got this idea from, though I'm guessing if you're not quite THAT lazy, you could send the gift cards yourself by setting an alarm every month to mail them out. Even $10 a month is an unexpected treat when it's free money!

Credit Image: Damian Gadal on Flickr


Give an Experience

One of my favorite birthday surprises for my dad and my husband: Getting someone to take them up in a glider airplane. I actually contacted a guy locally whom I had interviewed for a newspaper article back in my freelancing days, and he took them both up for a small donation to his flying club. If you don't have connections, you can shop Cloud 9 Living's Experience Gifts section and search for your city. In Kansas City, I could give anything from a bull-riding lesson to a hot air balloon ride. If you want to be completely ingenious, you could go along, take a bunch of pictures and make a photo book to commemorate the occasion.

Credit Image: ravensong75 on Flickr


Let 'Em Be a Picker

For Mother's Day a few years ago, my husband and daughter gave me a picker-for-a-day experience. I got to hit the thrift malls with my family and pick out one thing for less than $100. It was totally fun, and I still have the aluminum wash tub I got -- we use it as an ice chest for parties outside on the deck.


Taxi Take-Out

Everyone has that day when they just don't want to deal with dinner. Just think how excited your loved one will be when you present him or her with a gift certificate for one free, hot meal from their favorite restaurant delivered by you to their home (blackout dates may apply).

Credit Image: Lauren Bosak on Flickr

Now go get 'em!

Rita Arens authors Surrender, Dorothy and is the editor of the award-winning parenting anthology Sleep is for the Weak. She is the senior editor for