Okay, its the 23rd day of December, and you still have some people left to shop for. (Its probably too late for the stuff on our prior gift guides TBP Holiday Shopping IdeasMore ShopmasEven More Shopping Ideas; and the snarky Gift Giving Guide for  Traders)

Not to worry, we have you covered.

The secret to last minute gift shopping  something that does not require physical delivery.

The way to do that is with any broad combination of services that can be easily emailed before the 25th!

You still have 30 hours or so to hide from those special people in your life that you forgot all about them!

Our suggestions for very very last minute gift ideas:


Amazon Gift Cards $50 (Up to $7500)

Long time readers know I am not a fan of Gift Cards (See Yes Virginia, Gift Cards Do Suck)

In a pinch, a real last minute gift idea is Amazon Gift Cards. I normally dislike gift cards, but these have some advantages:

1) They never expire;
2) The selection of stuff is massive;
3) Free one day shipping on cards;
4) You can send gift cards by e-mail, Facebook, use print-at-home. Its as last minute as possible.

(Note that “One day shipping” is not the same as “Overnight shipping”)


23andMe ($99)

The gift of genetic self awareness:

23andMe is a DNA analysis service that helps you explore your own DNA, ancestry and health issues.

A little bit of spit is all it takes to start your journey.

Its regularly $299, so this is a bargain as well. And its run by Anne Wojcicki, also know as the wife of Google cofounder Sergey Brin (whose mother suffers from Parkinson’s disease).



Netflix: $8-$100 for annual subscription

Sure, there are still some people who don’t have a subscription.

Very simple and easy to gift, and guaranteed to be there by 12/25.


Dance Lessons:  $100-$500

I’ve watched all of you at various weddings and bar mitzvahs — Most of you don’t have the slightest clue what to do with your arms (all akimbo) or feet other than to step on your partners toes.

There are countless studios around, and while known will turn you into Fred Astaire, they will at least make you look good on the dance floor before dessert is served.


Bethpage Black Golf Course: $500-2,500

Near where I live, this is one of the local top notch courses, but where ever you live, you should be able to pre-purchase some tee time on some of the most famous courses in the country.

The secret? Buy a set of lessons from the home pro on your favorite course.

It will set you back a few shekels, but that’s what you get for wating til the last minute!


Skip Barber Performance Driving School: $1500 – 3200

I previously mentioned my experiences at Lime Rock, but the experience was really more than driving — it was all about the Skip Barber classes — if you never took a high performance driving course, well, you should. (Then go back for a refresher every 5 years).

The nice thing about giving this as a gift, is 1) It is very memorable; 2) You can save someone’s life by teaching them to drive well; 3) It is ridiculously fun.

I highly recommend it!


Caddy for a Cure:  ($5,000 and up) For the avid golfer in your life.

Caddy for the Cure gives an opportunity to spend the day caddying for one of the world’s best golfers at an official PGA TOUR tournament. Select a player from the PGA TOUR events list; You either “Buy It Now” at the price listed, or make your best offer.

The guys I know who did this lost their minds, saying it was the greatest experience on a golf course they ever had.

And, 100% of the proceeds goes to charity.

Category: Consumer Spending

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

6 Responses to “The Secret to Last Minute Gift Shopping”

  1. CTB says:

    Call me paranoid, but I would caution anyone looking into genetic testing. Results could impact your ability to purchase life or disability insurance, or even hurt your career.

  2. PeterR says:

    Charitable organizations are still open for donations to save lives, in honor of your loved ones.



    Peace on Earth.

  3. jaymaster says:

    I’ve saved my bacon a few times by stopping at a liquor store on the way to an event, and buying something reasonably top shelf.

    You won’t get a bargain, and you might have to wipe the dust off the bottle, but the contents won’t be spoiled.

  4. JohnathanStein says:

    Barry — You CAN’T just give a simple NetFlix subscription; I’ve tried.

    If the recipient already has a NetFlix compatible device — computer, Wii, etc. — they have to create an account and MUST give credit-card info. A lot of folks, especially older ones, do NOT want to do that, just to try something.

  5. grimreaper says:

    Having autocrossed (CRX, RX-7 twin turbo, WRX) for 10 years (and having made a living driving a truck for 30) few things are more satisfying than a spirited drive in a responsive vehicle. Can’t imagine anything quite so Zen as those moments when you become one with the car.

    If you haven’t tried the Forza/X-box games, I could not recommend them more (esp. Forza 4.) The physics are astonishingly correct, and the cars and tracks are real. Here’s a Youtube sample:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZvEOnmsID4 (though I know you’ve got better things to do than play video games.)

  6. Robert M says:

    You showed a charging device that had a solar powered back up. Can you post its name?
    PS If you are ever in Philly for christmas hit Nan Zhou noodle house