9 Low-Effort Yet Thoughtful Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

9 Low-Effort Yet Thoughtful Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas
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At one point or another, we’ve all been guilty of the last minute Christmas gift shopping panic. Whether it’s missed delivery cut-offs (something a lot of us will be dealing with this year) or you’ve forgotten about someone entirely, it happens to the best of us.

When this happens, you have two choices: braving a shopping centre or going digital. We’re going to focus on the latter option today. Because no one wants to have to wrestle with other desperate shoppers over pyjama pants, do they?

Here’s a list of easy ideas for last-minute Christmas gift ideas that won’t blow your cover. Better yet, they can all be ordered from the comfort of your couch and have zero delivery fees. Winning!

Gift an experience this Christmas

If you’re too late to grab a physical gift, an experience voucher is an incredibly thoughtful idea. From helicopter rides and swimming with sharks to a gourmet cooking lesson, there’s no shortage of companies offering the best in the experience game.

RedBalloon has pulled out all the stops this Christmas, while Adrenaline has a range of gift voucher options broken down by price.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge also has the option to gift a Burrawa Climb experience this year, which allows you to scale to the summit of the Harbour Bridge with an Indigenous Storyteller as your guide for $288 (adult price).

Or for animal lovers, maybe consider a visit to Sydney Zoo with a gift card.

Give a learning experience

For the curious types in your life, Ancestry offers Family History subscriptions which allow family members to travel back through historical records (there are 30 billion available dating back to the 13th century) to build a family tree and learn stories about family members across the years.

I can tell you from personal experience, showing your family records of your grandparents’ arrival into Australia, as an example, always gets an emotional response. These subscriptions go for $139 for six months.

And for those who love to learn, MasterClass is kind of the perfect gift? It offers courses in everything from gardening to screenwriting with over 100 instructors. And over the holidays, they’re offering a 2-for-1 deal so you can give a subscription (prices start at $276 for a year) as a gift while pocketing one for yourself, too.

Got yourself an artsy pal? Why not give them a voucher with Clay Sydney, so they can try their hand and moulding a mug by hand?

Treat them to a spa voucher

It’s been an incredibly long, tiresome year (slash couple years) so a spa voucher would be well-received by just about anyone. Endota is Australia’s largest spa with 100 locations across the country.

You can choose a specific treatment (if you know they love a facial) or opt for a Freedom Gift Card between $25-2000 for the recipient to choose a package themselves.

Also in the beauty realm, you can gift a voucher for brands like The Beauty Chef (skincare and gut health products) or cult favourite lip balm Lano Lips.

Streaming services never disappoint as a last-minute Christmas gift

Know someone who loves a good TV binge and is always looking for the next best thing to watch? A streaming subscription is the perfect gift.

Treat HBO-obsessives to a Binge subscription. Know someone who will be itching to get into the second season of Bridgerton in 2022? Treat them to a Netflix gift card. For those who prefer more wholesome viewing, a Disney+ subscription is the way to go.

Got a friend who is still listening to ads on Spotify? Do them, and yourself, a favour by gifting them a voucher for Spotify premium.

Give something charitable

If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that there are loads of people doing it incredibly tough right now. So why not a gift in the form of a donation this year? UNICEF offers a range of options here from vaccine pack donations ($85) to paying to install a water pump for a community in need ($492).

Support refugees with a gift that donates to UNHCR, or maybe make a donation to The Healing Foundation which is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that offers support to First Nations communities.

WWF also offers symbolic animal adoptions or gift cards that bring funding to the protection of animals and their habitats.

Give a shopping gift card

Yes, this gift can seem low effort. But if you know someone who is in need of some retail therapy why not allow them to shop what they actually like, rather than guessing?


  • The Iconic – Men’s and women’s fashion, beauty and wellness.
  • Net-A-Porter – High profile fashion brands live here.
  • P.E Nation – Perfect for your fitness-loving friends.


  • Adore Beauty –  Skincare, haircare, makeup and more.
  • Sephora – Give the gift of big-name beauty brands.


  • Lovehoney – Sex toys, lingerie and more.
  • Bed Threads – Australia’s most beloved bedding brand.

Book gift certificates will go down a treat

Books are an extremely popular gifting choice, but what happens if you’re not sure which genre to gift? Or, the person you’re shopping for is more of a kindle fan?

Booktopia is home to thousands of enticing genres, so it’s not hard to see why Australians love buying their books from here. Gift certificates start from $20 and go all the way to $300 if you’re feeling extra generous.

Kindle is also hugely popular with book lovers these days, so you can treat your loved ones to an Amazon voucher to help them fill their digital library. The same goes for Apple Books.

How about a subscription to a service they enjoy?

Gifting a subscription is a great way to ensure your gift keeps on giving long after the Christmas period. If you know your recipient’s general areas of interest, you can bet there’s a subscription package out there that’s perfect for them.

Audible subscriptions start at $16.45 a month and are a great option for people who love to read but can never find the time. If your recipient loves beauty and wellness, a Bellabox subscription is guaranteed to be a winner.

If a glass of wine at the end of the week is more their style, look no further than a Vinomofo or Naked Wine subscription – you’ll earn their adoration for that one.

If you’re really unsure of what they might like, Cratejoy has thousands of subscription boxes available that cover all areas of interest. Or maybe try a Good & Fugly voucher which allows folks to sign up for funky-looking (but great-tasting) food deliveries that reduce food waste.

Travel gifts are always a winner

This is a particularly good option for friends and family you won’t see at Christmas: a ticket to catch up at some point in the future (perhaps your birthday, perhaps a significant anniversary). If you’re wary of booking an actual ticket given the current circumstances, Qantas and Virgin both offer gift vouchers.

Airbnb now has a gift card option so you can help give someone a stellar stay at an incredible destination, or a fun travel experience, too.

Here’s a guide from Tourism Australia offering a whole lot of other travel-focused gifts.

Generic gift cards aren’t so bad

Think gift cards are impersonal? Think again. Plenty of people like them. For maximum flexibility, pick a gift card that’s usable with an online store or for digital media; that way, your recipient can enjoy some leisurely online shopping come Christmas afternoon.

If you really have no clue where to start, big online shopping retailers like Amazon is a failsafe bet. A gift card from Catch is another great last-minute Christmas gift given the sheer volume of products they have available.

Our last, but certainly not least impressive gift card suggestion here is for Bunnings. People froth over that store, so give them a chance to go crazy and buy all the plants and BBQ equipment they like.

This article has been updated since its original publish date.

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