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Last-Minute Gift Ideas, Because There’s No Way You’re All Done Holiday Shopping

Somehow, there’s always a surprise party invite or an impossible-to-shop for friend 

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Welcome to mid-December, when you’ve got holiday parties to go to, holiday gift swaps to begrudgingly participate in, and those random hard-to-shop-for folks still lingering on your shopping list. And pretty much no time left.

Props to everyone who scoured the many holiday shopping guides out there early and is, smugly, done. For the rest of us: At this point, going into physical stores during the next two weeks sounds unimaginably exhausting. So last-minute gift options you can buy from the comfort of your own couch — and have a guaranteed delivery date — are the way to go. Browse online bookstores for the whole roster of excellent cookbooks that came out this fall, see if your go-to sites are offering holiday-guaranteed shipping, or check out 13 ideas below that will arrive before December 24.

For the host of that upcoming holiday party

A brightly scented candle

For a helpful non-wine hostess gift, bring this brightly scented Jonathan Adler Grapefruit Pop Candle. The yellow vessel is the opposite of holiday kitsch, and the grapefruit scent is sweet and sharp. Price: about $35

Maldon salt flakes

Since home cooks and bakers go through sea salt flakes at an alarming rate, replenishing their supply with Maldon’s iconic salt is a chic, easy gift idea. Price: about $5

An accessory for gin lovers

This Gin Lover’s Tea Towel doubles as a short graphic history of gin, with the welcome addition of some gin cocktail recipes for party inspiration. Price: $14

A vintage beer bottle opener

Bottle openers and corkscrews tend to go walkabout during big parties, so bring this Kikkerland Vintage Copper Bottle Opener as a simple, pretty backup option. Price: about $12

For the person who’s impossibly hard to shop for

Terracotta pinch bowls

This set of six tiny bowls by Now Designs can be used to serve nuts, sauces, olives, or whatever else your recipient pleases. No one doesn’t have need for small bowls, right? Price: about $25

Beautiful olive oil

This Antico Frantoio Muraglia olive oil comes in a collectible ceramic bottle, handmade by artisans in Puglia. The rainbow stripe version will brighten up any kitchen counter. Price: about $49

Funky glass goblets

These 12-ounce indigo glasses feel kind of vintage and indulgent, perfect for a holiday toast or funky tablescape. Price: $36

Fancy mustards

A spreadable gift you can eat is sure to be a hit, and this Maille mustard variety pack, containing four little fancy-seeming (but actually very affordable) jars, are a welcome addition to every condiment collection. Price: about $18

For the always-awkward workplace gift swap

Reusable metal straws

A cute reusable straw set is a neutral, affordable gift. This set of four straws — two straight, two bent — comes with a canvas pouch and cleaning brush, easy to stash in a work desk drawer. Price: about $4

Korean chile flakes

Mother-In-Law’s Gochugaru Korean Chile Flakes are moderately spicy and will add a smoky, fruity heat to any sad desk lunches. Price: about $14

A tough travel mug

Gimmicky or corporate logo-covered coffee mugs are all well and good, but sometimes you need a vessel that will keep your beverage hot (or cold) through the longest meeting of all time. This Yeti Rambler stainless steel mug will do just that. Price: about $25

A chic lunch container

This BPA-free container by Porter, in a trendy mint shade, will stand out amongst a sea of Pyrex in the office fridge. (Just note that it’s heavier than it looks.) Price: $25

A mini oil-and-vinegar dispenser

This small Fox Run oil and vinegar bottle can be stashed in a desk corner and easily taken home for the occasional top-up or cleaning — no more messing with those tiny, fussy plastic containers of salad dressing that inevitably leak everywhere. Price: about $12

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