gifts they might actually want

40 Last-Minute Gifts for the People You Almost Forgot (That Will Arrive by Christmas)

Best Last Minute Gifts
For the second-tier giftees in your life. Photo-Illustration: Courtesy of the retailers.

Gift for Mom, check; gift for Dad, check; gift for your significant other, check. You’ve made your way through all the top-priority giftees on your Christmas list, and now all that’s left is shopping for those who might not quite be at the forefront of your mind — like your baby nephew, sibling’s new girlfriend, or third cousin once removed. But don’t worry, we rounded up the best last-minute gifts for the people you almost forgot about that you can buy right now on Amazon and that will arrive in time for Christmas. And if you’re still casting around for extra inspiration, check out of all the Strategist’s holiday-gift coverage right here — or, if you’ve really waited until the 11th hour to decide, consider an e-gift card.

For the baking-whiz cousin

They’ll appreciate a few extra mixing bowls, and this pistachio-green nesting set will look nice on the counter.

For the brother-in-law who travels for work

Even if he constantly laments that he’ll never be able to fall asleep on flights, we guarantee this Trtl travel pillow, which functions more like a padded neck scarf, will change his tune.

For the in-laws who host family game night

Add this game of “very energetic solitaire” to their rotation and watch the sparks (and accusations) fly.

For the teen growing out their hair

These Emma Chamberlain–approved hair towels will let them walk around post-shower “without dripping water everywhere.”

For the hyperactive nephew

Fidget toys have helped Strategist tech writer Jordan McMahon quell the restlessness of his ADHD. Made of metal, this Infinity Cube has a satisfying heft to it.

For the immaculately coiffed mother-in-law

This True Botanicals hair oil imparts the same results as a salon-worthy blowout. Strategist writer Ambar Pardilla says it left her hair “smooth, bouncy, and impossibly shiny.”

For the niece who’s going to art school

This soft-bound sketchbook is filled with blank pages that are “substantial and satisfying to flip through,” says Strategist senior writer (and part-time illustrator) Liza Corsillo.

For the high-shine sister-in-law

If her rings and necklaces could use a bit of TLC, an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner — which uses a high-frequency vibration to remove dirt from gaps and grooves — will get them bright and shiny again. Pro tip: It works great on eyeglasses, too.

For the roommate attending lots of holiday parties


So she can finish her glamorous looks with a festive red lip, courtesy of AOC’s go-to liquid lipstick.

For the roommate who hogs the bathroom to do her hair

A silk pillowcase can help reduce tangling, frizziness, and breakage (and will hopefully also reduce the amount of time she spends in there).

For the host with the most

An elevated hand soap is an easy gift for someone who’s already been gifted bottles upon bottles of wine. D.S. & Durga’s cult-favorite fragrance Big Sur After Rain is inspired by the post-rain smell of eucalyptus groves in California.

For the environmentalist aunt

An alternative to Saran Wrap, these beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin–coated wraps are washable and can be reused for up to a year.

For the steak-loving son-in-law

This meat thermometer favored by Tom Colicchio will help him cook the perfect medium-rare roast.

For the tween who hangs out at Sephora

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

Laneige’s glossy, hydrating lip products are a middle-school status symbol.

For the grandpa who does not want dentures


Help him keep his pearly whites in top shape with our pick for the best overall water flosser. Dr. Pia Lieb, founder of Cosmetic Dentistry Center NYC, assured us it has the strongest engine on the market.

For the brother-in-law who’s always in the weight room

To help relieve muscle tension and soreness, our top-rated foam roller features bumps and ridges that simulate a hands-on massage.

For the stepbrother who’s a fussy sleeper

Beckham Hotel’s gel pillows are suitable for all types of sleepers and a tried-and-true Strat favorite — the pillows count many, many satisfied readers (and a few staffers too!) as part of their fan club.

For the homebody stepsister

Made from plush Turkish cotton, Brooklinen’s uber-cozy robe is the perfect companion for late-night Netflix binges.

For the teenage cousin whose battery is always at 2 percent

A gift for teenage boys that was recommended to us by teenage boys, this portable charger is small enough to fit in any bag doesn’t need its own charging cord.

For the little cousin who loves to draw

A set of rock-shaped crayons that look as good as they feel in your hand.

For the neighbor with a small dog

From $17

Ugly and unsettling as it is, Strategist contributor Alice Gregory says her toy poodle Mickey is “inexplicably devoted” to this bear octopus toy. He’ll “cuddle it, gum it, and guard it territorially, as though anyone but him would possibly want it,” Gregory writes.

For the in-laws who just brought home a kitten

Yeowww!’s catnip banana is a tried-and-true cat toy because it’s the “perfect shape” for cats to sniff, snuggle, and kick, says Nora Wood, adoption-event coordinator for cat rescue Anjellicle Cats.

For your new partner’s mom

When you don’t know someone very well, a fancy candle is usually a safe bet. This amber-and-sandalwood one from Black-owned brand Harlem Candle Company comes in a luxurious crimson container.

For the father-in-law obsessed with his sourdough starter

From America’s Test Kitchen, this guide to mastering bread will feed his latest passion.

For the crafty tween

They’ll have a blast assembling this tiny bakery made from individual pieces of laser-cut wood. Strategist contributor Yvonne Lin can’t resist the “teeny-tiny bunny buns” and “chubby-wubby baguettes!”

For the birding enthusiast uncle

Photo: Retailer

This field guide for identifying birds, with its hefty size and detailed illustrations, will be an invaluable resource.

For the mother-in-law who drinks tea

This tea sampler includes ten different varieties, from raspberry nectar to chamomile citron, and comes in a nice-looking box ready for gifting.

For the balding father-in-law

Keep his noggin warm with this neutral gray beanie made from 100 percent cashmere.

For the office Secret Santa

Even if you don’t know much about the colleague in question, anyone can enjoy working through a mini-puzzle — this one has a striking Andy Warhol flower print and would fall under most Secret Santa price limits.

For the retired neighbor with zero f*cks left to give

Raunchy retirees will enjoy assembling this classic pastoral scene by artist Wayne White, which features a gilded frame and a foul-mouthed twist. (If a thousand pieces seems too overwhelming of a project, there’s also a 500-piece “Shitshow” design.)

For the marathon-running sister-in-law

This blend of mineral-rich salts, green clay, and jojoba oil will elevate her post-race soaks.

For the cousin repping NYC merch

Zizmorcore lovers will get a kick out of this “We Are Happy to Serve You” ceramic take on the classic deli coffee cup.

For the baby niece or nephew

This adorable set of take-apart wooden cupcakes is great for practicing hand-eye coordination, and would make a nice addition to a play kitchen or picnic basket.

For your sibling’s stylish girlfriend

She’ll be impressed by this chic gift set from body-care brand Nécessaire, which was founded by a Glossier alum.

For the BFF who listens to podcasts while they clean

This portable bluetooth speaker is loud enough to hear over the vacuum.

For the design-minded aunt

The Goober candles are a bit played out, but these blobby Yin Yang–esque candleholders still have plenty of charm.

For the sneaker-head

All the shoe-cleaning tools needed to revive a pair of Common Projects low-tops or pricey leather boots.

For the daughter-in-law on top of every beauty trend

$25 for 10

COSRX’s snail-mucin essence, which went viral on TikTok for its hydrating and brightening abilities, is now available in sheet-mask form.

For the budding geologist niece

Science meets blind-box reveal toys with this set of ten geodes you can break open to find surprise crystals — plus the kit comes with goggles and a magnifying glass, sure to please the mini-scientist on your list.

For the outdoorsy stepbrother

Made in Vermont and equipped with a lifetime guarantee, Darn Tough sells some of the best wool socks out there. They’re capable of surviving “multiple hikes, snow-shoveling, and winter storms, as well as plenty of trips through the wash,” says former Strategist writer Jordan Bowman.

Additional reporting by Liza Corsillo and Hilary Reid

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best gifts for mom, gifts for dad, baby-shower gifts, gifts for your boss, bar mitzvah gifts, and things on sale. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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40 Last-Minute Gifts for the People You Almost Forgot