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Christmas is mere days away, which means if you haven’t ordered your Christmas gifts online yet, it may be too late to get them delivered on time. There are some last-minute gifts and gifts from Amazon that may be able to ship within a day or so, but you’re probably better off shopping in person, as much as that hurts our spirited e-commerce hearts to say. Whether you need something for a friend or family member, or need to pick up something fast on your way to a holiday gathering, don’t discount your local grocery store as a destination for gifts, as well as food, this holiday season.
Heading to your local brick-and-mortar shops is a good idea, and supporting small businesses during the holiday season is always a good idea. However, if you’re down to the wire and need a super-last-minute gift, your go-to grocery store or pharmacy has plenty of great gift options amongst the produce, shampoo and canned goods, that would make anyone on your list happy.
We’ve gathered our favorite gift ideas you can pick up at most grocery stores, supermarkets and pharmacies, so you can still pull off a great gift even if the shipping deadlines got the best of you this year.
So even though it’s too late to order the 101 Best Christmas Gifts of 2021 online, you can still get some last-minute gifts and stocking stuffers IRL. For anyone that’s doing some last-minute shopping on Christmas eve at the local grocery store or Rite-Aid — we’re not judging, we promise — read on for our favorite grocery store gift ideas.
1. Holiday Cards and Treats
Many grocery stores attempt to maximize the revenue potential of the holiday season by ramping up their inventory of holiday-themed cards, candy and other goodies you can easily pick up on your way to a holiday party or home for Christmas. A nice greeting card and bag of gummy bears, large chocolate bar or box of cookies can make an excellent hostess gift or treat for a neighbor. Everyone loves to indulge a little around the holidays, and a card is a great affordable way to get in the holiday spirit.
How To Make It Feel Special: A heartfelt note inside a card can really brighten someone’s day, often more so than a gift that they’ll end up returning. The key to writing a meaningful card? Don’t overthink it! Speak from the heart. Think of a few things you love about the recipient and then write them down, along with your season’s greetings.
Flowers work as gifts for so many occasions — from birthdays to Mother’s Day, funerals, graduations and the holiday season. Many grocery stores update their selection of flowers around the holidays to include poinsettias, wreaths and other seasonal goods that make great hostess gifts. Fresh flowers are also a great way to decorate the house for the holiday season, and make great centerpieces for a Christmas dinner table. You can also order flower delivery online if you want to have a beautiful bouquet delivered to a long-distance loved one.
How To Make It Feel Special: If you’re buying flowers at the grocery store, look around the floral section. They likely have bows, ribbons and cards you can use to put together a more special gift. And instead of buying a pre-made bouquet, pick out your own flowers to create your own extra-special floral arrangement.
3. Gift Cards
Gift cards get a bad rep, we’re here to say that they make excellent gifts for anyone because you’re really gifting them the opportunity to pick out a present for themselves. Many grocery stores carry a wide selection of gift cards from top brands like Apple, Walmart, Amazon, Twitch, Sephora and more. You can pick the amount, place them in a nice seasonal card for delivery and you’ve got a gift almost everyone really wants this holiday season.
How To Make It Special: Don’t just pick a random gift card from The Outback Steakhouse! Pick a gift card that really speaks to the recipient’s tastes. Choose an Airbnb gift card for the traveler, a Sephora gift card for the teen or an Xbox gift card for the gamer. You can even write a note that says something like this to make it seemed less phoned in: “What do you buy someone with such impeccable taste? The gift of picking out their own Christmas gift!”
4. Hydroflask Water Bottles
Hydroflask makes some of the most popular water bottles on the planet, and these can be a perfect White Elephant gift idea under $50. Best of all, you can find these water bottles for sale at many grocery stores.
How To Make It Special: A lot of people really do put fancy insulated water bottles on their Christmas list. Frame this as a gift that’s all about self-care! “Wishing you a hydrated New Year!”
Read More: The Best Secret Santa Gifts Under $25
5. Grooming Gifts for Guys
Grocery stores and larger retailers like Target and Walmart usually have a medium to large grooming section where you can pick up everyday essentials like shampoo, deodorant and toothpaste. In recent years, they have also started carrying more indulgent grooming and self-care gifts for men such as premium razors, shaving butter, beard trimmers and beard oil. In addition, two of our favorite shaving clubs, Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club, now sell their best products at grocery stores and drug stores, so you can buy some premium grooming goodies for the bearded gentlemen in your life.
How To Make It Special: We recommend looking specifically for Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s products. These brands are often on gift guides for men anyway, so no one needs to know you bought them at CVS.
6. Beauty Gifts for Gals
For guys, you’ll want to head to the shaving section to stock up on premium shaving and beard products. However, you can find a beauty section in most chain drug stores and some grocery stores, too. You can easily gift a nice nail polish set, blowdryer, hair chutney or body balm this holiday season without rushed shipping. Larger retailers tend to carry some of our favorite grooming and beauty brands like Kiehl’s, Neutragena and Dove.
How To Make It Special: If your gal likes long luxurious baths, then look for bath bombs and fancy soaps. If she is a makeup maven, put together a basket of nail polish and other goodies. Be sure to buy a bow or ribbon to make your gift look a little more thought out.
Puzzles, board games, remote-controlled cars, princess castles and NERF guns are all sold at larger retailers like Target and Walmart, but some grocery stores like Whole Foods expand their selection of toys ahead of the holiday season. You’re more likely to find a small toy like a stuffed animal, coloring book, remote-control car or fidget toy near the checkout on the days leading up to Christmas, making a last-minute toy gift for a child that much more convenient.
How To Make It Special: Luckily, young kids aren’t too hard to please. Often, you can fool them with quantity over quality, so don’t be afraid to add a few different toys to your shopping basket.
8. Books and Magazines
Many grocery stores have a books and magazines section, where you can pick out the latest Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone or top-rated mystery novel for your giftee. The books may not be the highest quality, but they’re almost guaranteed to have a drama-filled, salacious plot that’s perfect for reading cuddled up in a blanket underneath the Christmas tree.
How To Make It Special: Look, we’re not going to lie, this gift idea is a bit of a stretch. If you’re giving this as a main gift to someone, good luck, man.
9. DIY Recipe Kits
This one’s a little more work than grabbing a card or a bottle of scotch, but a DIY recipe kit is a perfect gift for aspiring cooks this holiday season. Pick out a recipe you love to make, grab all the ingredients and deliver them with a homemade recipe card for a DIY gift that’s an experience and delicious treat wrapped into one. A pizza making kit is a great example, gift them some dough, cheese, sauce and a selection of toppings so they can make a great meal at home and skip their own trip to the grocery store.
How To Make It Special: It’s all about the presentation! A DIY recipe kit combined with a heartwarming card can be a great Christmas gift that doesn’t feel too last-minute.
Booze is always a safe bet during the holiday season, and most if not all grocery stores have an extensive alcohol selection. Whether your giftee prefers a stiff martini, a nice margarita or a full-bodied class of cabernet — your local ALDI, Kroger, Safeway or Von’s has the trick. Pick out a nice bottle, throw it in a liquor gift bag and you’ve got a last-minute, satisfying present on your hands.
How To Make It Special: Try to pick something that’s more top-shelf than it is Barefoot wines. You can also buy a bow or ribbon to put on the bottle.
11. Headphones, Chargers and Ear Buds
Ever tried to grab a charger last-minute on your way to the airport, or replace your janky headphones while picking up breakfast supplies? Then you know that most grocery stores have a bare-bones tech section where you can find earbuds, wired headphones and chargers for competitive prices. Although they’re not the most exciting gifts, they are useful, and would make excellent last-minute stocking stuffers for Gen Zers and other tech-obsessed young people.
How To Make It Special: These electronics acccessories make for great stocking stuffers!
12. Lottery Tickets & Scratchers
The chance to win hundreds of millions of dollars? An excellent Christmas gift or stocking stuffer, if you ask me. Sure, the chances of taking home the cash are near infinitesimal, but the game is fun to play regardless. Most grocery stores sell scratchers and lottery tickets near the checkout counters, and are easy to pick up on your way out.
How To Make It Special: Again, this is a tough one to make seem really special, unless your gift recipient really loves their lotto scratchers. Still, these can be a fun stocking stuffer or good White Elephant gift when combined with a card or gift certificate.
13. Art Supplies
The selection may not be extensive, but most grocery stores have an art supplies section where you can grab sketchbooks, colored pencils, markers, highlighters, watercolor paints and other crafty things. If you’ve got a niece who loves art class or need an activity for a little one on Christmas morning, you don’t have to make two stops when picking up the pies.
How To Make It Special: Since you’re in the art supplies section, look for bows, tissue paper and other items you can use to make a well-presented present. With a little artistic flair, this won’t look like a last-minute grocery store gift idea at all!
14. Pet Toys and Treats
Don’t forget about your furry friends! Almost all grocery stores have a pets section where you can find toys, treats, food and other goodies for your cats and dogs. They may not know it’s Christmas morning, but they’ll still love a new chew toy or catnip-filled mouse underneath the tree, and thankfully you can easily pick these gifts up at your local grocery store.
How To Make It Special: Sometimes, the best gift for a friend is actually a gift for their fur baby! You can say as much in a greeting card, which can usually be found one aisle over.