Last-Minute Christmas Gifts.

By: Jen Shoop

I’ve had a number of friends, loved ones, and readers reach out over the last few days in a panic — “Help!  I procrastinated and now I REALLY need a gift for ______.”  I got ya covered.  Below, a couple of items I’ve recommended (and purchased myself over the last week, truth be told) that will show up by Christmas if ordered ASAP:

+My family always has a puzzle out around the holidays, and we have found that Pomegranate Puzzles are the absolute best — great designs and high-quality pieces.  Mr. Magpie actually bought me this one when I was pregnant and I worked on it to distract myself.  A great option for a parent, parent-in-law, or any sort of “family gift” on your list.  If your family is a game-loving one: Codenames gets rave reviews and What Do You Meme is usually a crowd-pleaser.

+Bamboo memory foam pillow.  This might sound off-the-wall, but I recently invested in a set of these for Mr. Magpie and I and we are in love.  Do note that you can adjust the “fill level” to your comfort — which I did.  I find that these pillows don’t get “hot” on one side very easily somehow, and they keep your head in place without leaving a crick in your neck.  I am sleeping so soundly these days!  This would be a great gift for a sibling, a soon-to-be parent, or any loved one who prizes his/her sleep.  

+Marpac Dohm sleep machine.  Speaking of good sleep — I bought this for our best friends (a married couple) last year as they mentioned that they will occasionally leave the AC unit running well into winter just for the white noise effect.  This seemed like a more cost-effective (and portable!) solution.  They now never sleep without it!  Read the reviews!  For new parents, people go nuts over this Hatch sound machine/OK-to-wake timer.  It works well from infancy through toddlerhood.

+The best book I read this year, hands down.  Full review here.

+Acupressure mat.  I’ve written about this way too many times — and have also gifted it to at least five people I love.  This is such a great de-stressing tool, especially for a new dad (they tend to lug a lot of gear around) or any of the athletic folk in your life.  It’s used daily in our home.

+This body wash in Heavenly Gingerlily (have written about this so many times) is the absolute best.  It’s a gender-neutral scent (despite the floral-sounding name!) and it will leave you sniffing your wrist all day long.  I’ve given this away as a gift more times than I count, including — most recently — to my mother-in-law!  

+For the fashionista in your life: this oversized Goyard clutch/computer case.  The largest size was too small for my laptop so I just use mine as a pouch instead.  Super chic.

+Queenie Ka jacket — just like Lululemon (read reviews!) but half the price.  A solid gift for your yoga-obsessed sister-in-law or your athleisure-loving neice.  I like it in the bubblegum pink, heathered gray, or spiderweb black.

+For your expecting best friend: Clarins Body Tonic.  I swear this is the only reason why I have no stretch marks. 

+This makeup organizer would make a perfect gift for any of the makeup-obsessed ones in your posse.  (Read the reviews!  The dividers are repositionable — genius.)  Maybe pair with the mini version of my favorite finishing/toning spray (on sale) or the makeup eraser washcloth.

+A foldable Scout utility bag.  I love the name of this tote — “4 Boys.”  Designed for a mom on the go, this is the perfect all-purpose catch-all for, well, everything.  I can imagine stowing it in the trunk of my car to transport sports gear, groceries, bulky coats, etc.  

+One of these adorable wine totes (a little nicer than your run-of-the-mill paper variety) and a bottle of nice champagne — try Pol Roger, which is maybe a little less cliche than Veuve but, in my completely biased opinion, twice as delicious.  It was Winston Churchill’s favorite.  I believe bottles start around $50.

+If you know a mother or sister is receiving a high-end tote — a Goyard, a Neverfull — for the holidays, this would be such a thoughtful supplement.

+A few stocking stuffers — basically, items $10 and under that I absolutely love: these wooden tongs (the perfect length — and I eat toast most mornings so trust me on the superior design on this set), our favorite peelers (inexpensive but SO sharp and easy to maneuver — we use these over our much more expensive OXO and Rosle implements!), an eyelash comb (I freaking love my lashes — these are good at getting clumps out and achieving a more fanned look), fancy pants toothpaste, my beloved iPhone stand (one reason I love this so much — I can glance at it and it will unlock, so I can scan my messages without having to move #lazy #musthave), and our favorite toothbrushes.  My dentist urged me to only use soft-bristle brushes; she insists medium and beyond just scratch the enamel of your teeth.  I found these, which get strong reviews because they have like 10x the number of bristles found on a normal toothbrush and are therefore better at truly cleaning your teeth, and they also have a really smart hexagonal wand which makes angling easier.  I could go on but — just trust me.  These are good.

P.S. More gift ideas here and here (you might still be able to get them on time if you expedite shipping!)

P.P.S.  I ordered these as a fun way to reimagine/liven up my LBD collection.

P.P.P.S.  I hope I’m this kind of parent, musings on phone etiquette for us millennials, and 10 things I love that I shouldn’t

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7 thoughts on “Last-Minute Christmas Gifts.

  1. Ah, What Do You Meme is so funny! Love to play it with my siblings. I’ve been intrigued by Codenames after seeing some cousins playing it over the Christmas break…

    Those Curaprox toothbrushes are classic! Love them, though I recently just purchased a Sonicare at the behest of my dentist. Haven’t opened it yet, though. And I love your tip in the comments about the Marvis mouthwash — I use their toothpaste all the time while traveling; this would be an interesting product to have on hand. xo

  2. So tempted by the Lulu knockoff for my girlfriends- have you tried this one and how is the quality!?! It looks too good to be true! I feel like it would be adorable packaged with some barre socks/headbands/nice water bottle.

  3. Hey Jen! Long time reader, first time commenter. I discovered your blog a few months back and have been reading it daily. I love all of your posts but especially the memoir-esque ones, and among those, the ones on DC, a place that I deserpately miss now that I live in Seattle. Anyway, with 2019 approaching, I recently purchased an Emily Ley planner in the hopes of feeling less pressure daily. Could you provide an update on how you organize your day designer? For instance, do you set up your planner in any way upon first receiving it, and do you have a system for organizing your day to make sure you don’t overcrowd the day with too many tasks to reduce feeling overwhelmed? Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Divya! Thank you so much for reading along and for taking the time to write in. Oh YES the planner is a savior. I don’t do much to set it up at first except for to write in birthdays for family and friends and recurring events I can’t let myself forget (i.e., I always add a to-do the first week of the month to mail in rent). But mainly I use my planner as a time-based to-do list. If I have a lot of admin to get through, I’ll sprinkle in the items across a week, adding a new line and a checkbox next to each item, i.e., today’s to-dos read: Order Instacart; track Shopbop return; schedule follow up dentist appointment; write post for Monday; write post for Tuesday; place wine order; send B a birthday message; reschedule mini’s ballet class. This way, the night before, I skim what I have on tap and can plan my day accordingly, making sure I block out enough time for free writing without it feeling cramped by errands. I feel like I’m not describing this well — but I hope you get my drift. My planner is just a long to-do list broken up by dates. I will say one thing I do that makes me feel organized and on-top-of-everything (and lets me breathe easy without worrying something will fall through the cracks) is that I write down reminders to myself in my planner about EVERYTHING. Some common but maybe bizarre thing I’ll add as to-dos: “follow up with J. on email about playdate,” and “pick cookie recipe for cookie exchange,” and “ask Landon to bring up Christmas decor from storage unit.” These are such finite, minuscule micro-steps but recording them and putting them against a calendar makes me feel like a steel trap. I FORGET NOTHING. Ha! A good insurance policy against forgetting to do something or missing a deadline…I even do this for things like ordering gift tags for mini’s Christmas gifts. I had thought about this in like August and then added a calendar reminder in October to actually select and place an order.

      Hoping this helps!!!


  4. Happy Holiday’s
    The problem is mouthwash!
    Yep! Everytimeni pull out that bottle it is an eyesore especially when I am entertaining. What’s your thoughts and ideas on this.
    As always, your blog is one of my favorite thing to read each morning.
    Thank you for always being there

    1. Hi Carol! Thank you so much for the sweet words and for your readership! Hm – I agree. That’s a hard one. I say either conceal it in a medicine cabinet or find a prettier bottle — Marvis’ looks like a gorgeous botanical tonic of some sort: ! Or you could transfer drugstore mouthwash into a dispenser like this: — but then you have to worry about buying and storing those tiny plastic cups. xoxo

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