Last-minute Christmas gifts (buy 12/23, delivered 12/24)

So it’s the afternoon of December 23rd and you need a Christmas gift but don’t want to face the malls or pay exorbitant charges to mail something overnight. I’ve pulled together some ideas of presents for children and families that won’t break the bank, that are either free to order online and have delivered or can be ordered today or tonight and still be delivered tomorrow for less than $5 (note – this is at the time of my writing, around 1:30EST, so things could sell out or change before then, but hopefully it’ll still be the same). Hope this helps!


A great last-minute gift that you can order today (or tomorrow) and have delivered via email is a family membership to a local museum, zoo, aquarium, or other attraction. At least where I live, these places can be expensive, but kids love going there. And a family membership is a gift that covers the whole family, so you don’t have to find one present for each person. A totally non-scientific survey of moms I know generated agreement that this would be a great present to receive from grandparents or other relatives (the better if you then offer to take the kids to the museum or zoo for a special day!) Wikipedia has a sortable list of children’s museums by state, and I found this directory of zoos by state (this is just a random site that I found, I felt like there should be a .org version of a directory but I couldn’t find one, so I can’t vouch that this is 100% complete but I looked at a couple of states and it looked decent).


Amazon has toimagens of great games discounted to less than $15 each, with delivery tomorrow via Prime costing $3.99 or $4.99 in most instances (and since a lot of these are deeply discounted you still come out ahead of the regular price even with the shipping. I’m going with Amazon because I looked at and and other places that have great logistics and shipping but they mostly had cutoffs this morning (so you could still overnight ship an item from Nordstrom, for example, it would just cost you $25, which defeats the point of the thing).

[Special note: If you don’t have Amazon Prime, get it. I way more than make up for the cost of it over the year, and if you have prime but are okay to wait longer than the free two-day delivery time Prime comes with you can often choose to take slower shipping and get a credit for movies, music, etc, on Amazon. Here is a link for a 30-day free trial: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial– obviously if you used it for holiday presents or post-holiday deals and didn’t like it you could cancel before the 30 days were up and not pay anything – they wouldn’t suddenly make you pay more for the free shipping you already got from it.]

So for more classic games under $15, obviously I’m a Jenga fan (says ages 6+ but a five year old does just fine with it), and Monopoly is currently discounted and has free one-day shipping (Monopoly age range – depends how closely you want to stick to they rules!).

For newer games under $15, Melissa & Doug Suspend is the hot game of the season and again can be played by a wide range of ages (it’s also one of those kids games that will not make you as an adult bonkers after playing it more than twice, so that’s good). Scrabble Twist is currently under $10 (list price is $21.99!) and good for ages 8+.

Finally, another hot new game is Gravity Maze –  this one is more than $15 but it’s a great game and comes highly recommended for older kids (ages 8-15). It’s neat because it can be played alone or with a group, and it’s supposed to build spatial reasoning skills.

Wooden Toys


imageAmazon is currently having a 50% off sale on hundreds of Plan Toys, which is a brand of high-quality wooden toys that we love (a random assortment of some of our Plan Toys to the left – I have no idea why my children decided that all the dolls had broken arms and had to see the doctor, hence the band-aids!). I’ve put some examples here of things that are 50% off and available for delivery tomorrow, but you may want to take advantage of the sale to stock up for birthdays and gifts for the coming year – I know I did!

Please note that the same toy may available for a lower price but not for delivery tomorrow, so if you don’t care about the delivery for tomorrow part just use the general Plan Toys link. Meanwhile, the toys below were all in the 50% off sale and were all available for Christmas delivery at the time of typing (use this link here to see the Plan Toys for delivery on Christmas)

There also are 465 Melissa & Doug toys available for Prime next-day delivery as of this typing. Melissa and Doug has everything from arts and crafts sets to pretend food to dollhouses to trucks – basically a huge selection here. I really like their Car Carrier Trucks and Cars Wooden Set – ages 3+, but really works for as long as anyone likes playing with cars and trucks! Currently $12.39 (regularly $19.99).

Winter Gear:

imagePatagonia has free overnight shipping on all orders over $75 (surprisingly, I couldn’t find any other major retailers with similar deals this late, so if you know of one please comment!) Kids can never have too many warm things for winter, and they have some really nice patterns this year (like the Playtime Pals reversible jacket that we have, pictured right).

The snowpants that we have (non-Patagonia) were available for delivery by tomorrow when I took the picture but not when I went to go find the link now – whoops. Patagonia ones would work, or Amazon has a bunch of kids Columbia gear on sale that is available for delivery by tomorrow.


Random Nice Gift:

The LeapFrod LeapPad Platinum Learning Tablet is currently 31% off and free one-day shipping.  It’s for ages 3-9 and would be a solid main present if you’re still looking for one.

Gift Cards:

Pretty much any drugstore or supermarket will have gift cards at the checkout, but since this post is about ordering things online you can get an Amazon gift card (various denominations) in a cute little gift box (here’s a white heart option and a red with gold bow option) with free One-Day shipping. So at least the nice packaging makes it look a little more like you actually thought ahead? Still probably not fooling anyone, but then at least the parents can pick out what they want.  Or get an e-gift card from pretty much any store and have it emailed – that’s free, you can do it anyplace, and you can write a cute note with it about how you’ll pick out something together!

Happy holidays!


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