Did you wait until the eleventh hour to start Christmas shopping? Worry not, friend. Your gifts can still be thoughtful and from the heart. Here are a few last-minute holiday gift ideas that are sure to please.

Event tickets

Decades of rigorous consumer research has shown that we are happier when we spend money on experiences, not things. So why not extend this principle into your holiday gift giving? Event tickets — whether they’re for a Raptors game, a wine tasting, an exhibition or the theatre — are a great way to support the interests of the important people in your life. If your interests are shared, work yourself into the equation with an extra ticket. Spend time together and create a lasting memory. If your event requires an overnight stay in the city, make sure you choose a central, accessible hotel like the Strathcona.

A book

The beauty of this gift is its simplicity. The fact is, a new book always inspires. A bookstore is the definition of one-stop shopping — walk into a shop like Toronto’s excellent BMV Books and you’re guaranteed to find at least one title or subject that will pique the curiosity of everyone on your gift list. Even if your friends don’t keep up with the latest bestselling titles, a book of sudoku puzzles, a travel guide for their next holiday destination or some gorgeous coffee table photography is sure to be appreciated.

Spa day

If you have someone who has everything on your list, a spa day is the perfect go-to. A little self-care is a great way to reset after the excess of the holidays and start off the new year on the right (pedicured) foot. Some good places to begin are (women’s only) Body Blitz — with two Toronto locations where ladies can relax and invigorate in a therapeutic water circuit while enjoying a poolside signature smoothie — and Hammam Spa on King West, which is modeled after traditional Turkish baths.

A (well-chosen) gift card

Gift cards are easy, more tasteful than cash and, when selected carefully, can show that you really put thought into your present. The key is that your gift card should allow the purchase of something that isn’t part of your loved one’s regular shopping – if they have a daily Starbucks habit, that latté isn’t going to taste any different just because it’s paid for with plastic from you. Choose a brand or store that will allow your recipient to treat themselves or tie your purchase to a particular event or project in their lives.  For example, if they’ve been talking about how much they need a vacation, a little dough towards new luggage may provide the inspiration they need.

Classic stocking stuffers

Some gifts never go out of style — especially the small ones. Lottery tickets, artisan chocolate (especially from a top-end local chocolatier like Soma), handmade personal gifts (like a photo book) or cosmetics from a favourite brand are always appreciated. A series of smaller gifts also takes the pressure off you as  the  giver. Rather than stressing over a single big-ticket item, you can spread your spending over a number of smaller items you already know your recipient will love.

Create a happy holiday spirit with these last-minute gift ideas. As extra insurance, make sure you ask for gift receipts — just in case.

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