Attention Last-Minute Shoppers: Here Are 6 Bob Vila Editors’ Go-To Gifts

From whimsical to wacky, these gifts show up year after year under our trees.

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There’s nothing like wandering through a picked-over store at the holidays to make you realize you are done shopping. Not actually done, as in all the gifts bought and wrapped. But mentally done. Fried. Toast. Unfortunately, you still have a few last-minute gifts to buy.

Why did you have to pull your great aunt for Secret Santa this year? What does she even like? Worse, you still have to get something for that one person who has it all. And then there’s that white elephant gift exchange that you promised would not be a repeat of the dreaded candle and gift card debacle of last year.

Good news: One person’s unique gift might be another person’s go-to yearly selection. To that end, a few of us offer these suggestions for crowd-pleasing gifts. You might be surprised to find not a single tool made this list, but we do have friends and family members who don’t love DIY as much as we do. May our tried-and-true repeats help you find something unique, and may you get the last piece of pie for all your efforts.

RELATED: Best Gifts Under $50, Handpicked by the Bob Vila Team

1. Seasonal Flowers

Holiday Flower Tree

One of my favorite things to give is an arrangement of flowers or a flowering plant. Whether it’s poinsettias, a mini Christmas tree, or this festive holiday flower tree at 1-800-Flowers, fresh greenery gives something extra to holiday decor. It’s so fun when you get a surprise delivered to your house, so the experience of receiving the flowers is part of the gift too. — Amy Anderson, Features Editor, Service & News

RELATED: 25 Handy Stocking Stuffers for Under $25

2. Lantern Snow Globe

Alpine Lantern Snow Globe
Photo: Stephanie Cronk for Bob Vila

My go-to gift is the Alpine Lantern Snow Globe from The Home Depot. We have three in our living room, and we always get a lot of comments and compliments on them. We started giving them as gifts and they are always a hit. The lantern snow globe has also become one of our favorite grab-bag gifts to bring to parties. They come in a variety of designs and run on three AA batteries. They also feature a 6-hour timer to preserve battery life. — Stephanie Cronk, Executive Editor of Product Reviews

RELATED: The 50 Hottest Gifts from The Home Depot

3. Quirky Throw Blankets

Waffle throw blanket
Photo: Jenny Stanley for Bob Vila

My nephews (14 and 15 years old) are the most difficult people to buy for, but last year I earned the title of “best aunt ever” by gifting them each a goofy throw blanket. I ordered a tortilla, because one nephew is a Chipotle fiend, and a waffle, because the other one would eat breakfast food all day, every day. The blankets are memorable, to say the least, and my nephews love them! — Jenny Stanley, Executive Editor of Service & News

RELATED: 9 Gifts for the Tool Nut Who Has It All

4. High-quality, cozy socks 


Socks may not have been the coolest but as an adult, I love—and love to gift—good-quality pairs. I own several pairs from Darn Tough, and these warm, moisture-wicking, antimicrobial, and comfortably padded socks work well with any boots (not just hiking). But I appreciate most that the Vermont-made socks are guaranteed for life, so giftees can get a replacement if they ever wind up with a hole. For a cozier alternative, I give my favorite Eddie Bauer’s Firelight Lounge socks (women’s). The fuzzy interior and gripper dots on the foot have me choosing these over slippers all winter long. — Kathleen Corlett, Editor in Chief

RELATED: The 25 Best Stocking Stuffers for Outdoor Enthusiasts

5. Gingerbread house kits

Crafty Cooking Kit Chicken Coop Gingerbread Kit

So far this season, I have picked up 26 gingerbread house kits to give to colleagues, family, and friends. Each is a holiday decoration, a treat, and an experience all packaged in a box—what’s not to love? Traditional houses with gum drops are classic, but I also enjoy looking for the unique designs that might speak to the gifter. This year, I found gingerbread chicken coops at Tractor Supply, a sugar-cookie Wayne Manor at JoAnn, plus a gingerbread birdhouse and even a gingerbread-flavored dog house for furry friends at Target. — Kathleen Corlett, Editor in Chief

RELATED: The 35 Best Gifts for New Homeowners

6. Bath Bombs

Bodycology Bath Fizzies, Coconut Hibiscus, 2.1

If what we buy for others reflects what we personally value, it must be obvious that I’m a fan of the self-care trend of the past decade or so. I turn to cozy paraphernalia for almost any occasion, and my favorite easy holiday gift is the bath bomb. These scentsy, sudsy things can be tailored to the recipient by choosing just the right smells and shapes, but their single-use (or, in the case of bubble bars, multi-use) nature means I’m not cluttering the giftee’s home with more stuff. While I’ll graciously accept a bag of Bodycology bath bombs myself, I prefer to gift plastic-free boxes of Lush bombs for guilt-free giving. — Philip Tinner, Editor, Service

RELATED: The 10 Best Things to Buy in December