The Eleventh-Hour Elf

Too late to order online? No time for (another) trip to the mall? Here are 10 great giftables, all of which you can purchase at the grocery or drugstore—or make at home.

1. For the gourmand
Pick up a mix of these goodies, available at most grocers: top-quality olive oil, a canister of specialty salt from France, fine Italian coffee, a bar of artisanal chocolate, jam in a pretty jar, some imported sausage, olives, and biscotti. Place everything in a basket or a craft-paper brown bag with tissue. If you’re handing it over right away, add a baguette. Bon appetit!

2. For a tween girl
Hit the drugstore for nail polish, nail polish remover, an emery board, and stick-on “nail art.” Place in a colorful bag with tissue. Done!

3. For a college student
Simplify laundry day with detergent pods. Besides being easy to use, these multidimensional laundry detergents clean, fight stains, and brighten in one. No more pouring. No more lugging. No more spilling. And no more bringing home dirty laundry (dare to dream)!

4. For your hosts
Showing up for an evening party? Bring breakfast for the next day. Bake a coffee cake or muffins or—faster still—let your grocery-store baker do it for you. While at the grocery store, buy a pound of good coffee and/or fancy tea.

5. For Grandma
Pick up a picture frame or frame-style refrigerator magnet at the drugstore. When she arrives, take a picture of her and her grandchild or children. Print it out (copy paper is just fine) and pop it in the frame. An easy “Awwww”!

6. For Grandpa
Buy one of those wallet-style greeting cards commonly used for cash. Have your kids dream up things Grandpa would like: a hug, a lesson on how to use his smartphone, breakfast in bed, a chore performed without whining. Make one coupon for each IOU and stick it in the card. Voilà!

7. For the spiller
Instant stain remover sticks remove even tough grease stains while “on the go.” They combine a powerful cleaning solution that breaks stains down with a micro-fiber pad that lifts and absorbs them.

8. For a procrastinator
Pick up a pack of thank-you notes—or if you prefer, a stack of postcards—and a roll of stamps. Place a pen on top and wrap it all up with a ribbon. If you have the time, address the envelopes and stick on the stamps. No excuses for not getting cards in the mail before New Year’s Eve!

9. For a new driver
Pack up foul-weather items in a box to keep in the trunk, including windshield wiper fluid, an ice scraper, and a flashlight and extra batteries. If your local gas station sells automotive supplies, you might also find a de-icer spray and jumper cables.

10. For almost anyone
Bake cookies, place them on a festive paper plate, and wrap it all up in cellophane with a big bow. Include your recipe on the card. Yum!

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