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The best last minute Christmas presents!

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With Christmas right around the corner, we take a look at how to avoid picking up a last minute, panic buy present rip-off.

It’s the afternoon of Christmas Eve and you’re out on the icy high street desperately hunting for those last two presents that you’ve meaning to get since November! Long queues, angry shoppers and staff that really want to get home – we’ve all been there and it’s not nice.

But last minute shopping is still no excuse for wasting money. So if you've left it late, and don't fancy traipsing around the high street, what gifts should you go for?


Sites like Groupon, Wowcher and Living Social offer cut price flash deals on everything from spa and beauty treatments to off-road driving lessons that take place in your local town or city.

There’s usually between 50-90% off the high street price – and all you have to do is buy online, print off the voucher and give it to your friend or family member for them to redeem.

However, do a little research to ensure that the deal on offer is actually as good as it seems. As Neil Faulkner has pointed out, group-buying websites don't always save you money.

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Online subscriptions

Subscriptions to magazines, clubs or online services are another great way of picking up a last minute gift without leaving your front room.

Spotify offers giftcards that can be redeemed for Spotify subscriptions, as do other music streaming sites like rdio and Deezer.

LOVEFiLM.com also offers gift subscriptions that can be sent by e-card or printed off – these allow the person to have rental films delivered by post or streamed direct to their computer or PS3. Other TV streaming services offer gift cards too, such as Netflix and blinkbox. 

You can also take out magazine and newspaper subscriptions online or sign your friend or family member up to online news services such as Times Online or FT online. If you're going for a magazine subscription, be sure to check Bespoke Offers, which always has some decent offers on. For example right now you can nab 26 issues of Grazia for £20.

Make your own gift!

Homemade gifts are a great way of quickly and cheaply knocking up a present! They can also show that you’ve really thought about the present and not just gone down the shops and bought any old tat!

Read How to make successful homemade Christmas presents for some inspiration.

Start saving for next Christmas with a top savings account


It may sound a bit soppy, but if you’re a bit light on cash you could always give a promise as a present! For example, promise to babysit 10 times in the next year, or do the washing up every week or even look after the dog one weekend! It could end up saving your friend or family member a tidy sum in the New Year.

Make sure you send a signed card to go with your promise so the deal is all in writing though.

Charity presents

Let’s be realistic, charity gifts aren’t suitable for everyone – chances are your eight year old nephew isn’t going to see the value in getting a gift donation, but some people may.

Oxfam offers a range of Christmas charity gifts including donating a goat to a family overseas, helping with a child's education, planting an allotment or feeding a family.

You can also give your loved one a voucher for a site like lendwithcare.org, which allows you to lend ethically to entrepreneurs in developing countries.

You can find a full list of charitable presents at charity-gifts.org.

Get on top of your finances with the lovemoney.com MoneyTrack tool

This is a lovemoney.com classic article which has been updated

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