We did a big roundup on the best of-the-month club subscriptions last December — and I thought we’d do another roundup of similar last-minute gifts…
(Also check out some of our classic gift ideas — many are available through Amazon for quick shipping.)
Great Last Minute Gift: Meal Services Like Purple Carrot
We’ve tried a few of these for our family and in my experience they’re all a little bit too much work for what they are — the one that I really enjoy is Purple Carrot, mainly because I don’t regularly eat or make vegan recipes. I have one friend who gets it really regularly and is always posting amazing-looking dishes to Instagram — and I could see this being a great gift for someone who is trying to eat less meat, eat healthier, or enjoys trying new foods and recipes. Note that they generally are not low-calorie dishes — the few weeks we had all of the meals clocked in at around 700-900 calories — but maybe that was just the dishes we chose. (Everything was DELICIOUS and we’ve added a few recipes to our regular rotation.)
With Purple Carrot you pick your meals a week or two ahead of time based on a menu. If you get 4 dinners per week for 2 people, that will be about $95. (Oooh, and they now have “prepared meals” as an option, also, so you don’t have to do quite so much meal prep.)
Smaller gifts that correlate with this (if you want to make a nice themed present or have something else to wrap up): new spatulas (am I alone in feeling like I always need new ones? I liked this set), specialty products like avocado savers, or fun spices like Slap Ya Mama or Trader Joe ones like Umami seasoning or Black garlic.
There are obviously a ton of other meal services here — readers, I’d love to hear which are your favorite, either to use yourself or give as gifts…
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Great Last Minute Gift: Cocktail Subscription Service like Shaker & Spoon
Something I’ve seen the readers talking about a lot is a monthly cocktail subscription service, where they send you all those tinier ingredients that can be difficult to find and expensive to purchase — after all, not everyone is going to love a $20 bottle of a very specific kind of bitters.
It’s important to note that they do not send you alcohol, but rather “everything you need besides the alcohol.” But they do make recommendations for which alcohol to get.
A 1-month gift is $50.
Note that there are of-the-month clubs for alcohol, if your recipient’s state allows it — if you know someone who is trying to cut their intake you might look into a gift card to No & Low, which sells a ton of interesting non-alcoholic substitutes.
Smaller physical gifts that can correlate to a cocktail subscription service like this: historical drinking glasses (I have 2 different sets of these and love them), a bartender kit, or even fancier cherries than they might otherwise buy. (Or, hey, dirty martini olive juice.)
Another Last-Minute Gift for the Book Lover: A Book Subscription such as Brilliant Books
Readers turned me on to Brilliant Books’ of-the-month subscription last year, and I got it for my husband. He was a pretty passive recipient, reading the books at his own pace, and not giving them a ton of feedback, but he found some great books through the service. There are a lot of services like this, including romance-specific ones (I’ve heard great things about The Ripped Bodice’s subscription) — again, readers, if you’ve tried any other book clubs, I’d love to hear about them! (Particularly if you have any great sci fi book clubs!)
Physical gifts to correlate to a book-of-the-month subscription: a clip-on reading light (we just got this amber one), a great throw blanket (get snuggly and read!), a funny bookmark or two.
A Few More Last-Minute Gift Ideas
- Storyworth – The recipient receives weekly prompts to write their story; at the end of the subscription you can buy them (and others) a bound book. It’s a lovely idea for a grandparent if they’re into writing. Physical gift ideas to go along with it: a mug, nice teas, maybe even a candle to make their trip down memory lane more of a ritual. (This cedarwood/sandalwood candle is lovely, but the scent is very strong.)
- Letters of the month – I’ve gifted the Dear Holmes mystery letter of the month before (my father enjoyed them), and there are a few different historical letter clubs (the Rumpus, Letterjoy, Historic Mail). Physical gift ideas to go along with it: mug, teas, maybe even a themed letter opener like these sword ones.
Readers, what are some of your best last-minute gift ideas?
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Where are you getting/finding rapid tests these days? Has anyone been able to find the at-home kind? They appear to be sold out everywhere now.
Do you think it would be safe enough to PCR test 3 days before Christmas, literally not leave my house before then, and assuming I test negative, go see family? Everyone is vaxxed and boosted except two little kids who are too young to be vaxxed.
Amazon. Ordered a bunch last Wed and they arrived on Friday. $18ish for a box of 2. Have also had some luck with Walmart. Just have to keep checking back in as inventory comes and goes quickly, it seems.
Costco had some Binax ones this weekend.
I got some of the Binax ones online from Walmart a few weeks ago, but they’re out now (they might have them for pickup where you live). You could keep checking back and see if they come into stock, they usually ship pretty fast.
I’ve had a bunch of friends test positive recently and it seems like most people are testing positive 3-4 days after exposure, but will test negative up until that point (several were testing every day post-travel and isolating at home in between). It’s really important to test as close to the time you’ll be around people, so a PCR test and then rapid tests at home day of would be much better (or just rapid tests on the day you’ll see people).
Local non-chain drugstores
My local Walgreens has BinaxNOW rapid tests in stock.
Rapid tests at the door are better than PCR tests done three days before. Even if you isolate at home in between the test and the gathering, you could have been exposed before the test, and easily have become infectious three days later even though you were negative on the PCR. The timeliness of rapid tests more than cancels out their reduced accuracy. https://twitter.com/michaelmina_lab/status/1473021575322423300
I would be happy with a one year membership to America’s Test Kitchen’s s*te (throw in an ice cream scoop or some other cooking tool to make it not feel so last minute).