Last Minute Gifts from Drug Store_cover

50 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Pick Up at the Drugstore

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Last Minute Gifts from Drug Store_cover

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In a classic "Family Ties" episode, Michael J. Fox as Alex P. Keaton hits a convenience store for his Christmas shopping. Wondering what we would do in such a last-minute scenario, we went to the local branch of a drugstore chain and a neighboring supermarket for ideas. Sure, these gifts might not be your choice if time was on your side, but in a pinch, they'll do the trick. And if some turn out poorly, at least you've given family and friends another gift: fuel for future teasing.

Related: Unique Gift Ideas. for Everyone on Your List

Lottery Tickets
Purchase Discounted Gift Cards

Gift Cards

Not especially creative but potentially perfect at the eleventh hour, a gift card isn't just a little piece of plastic — it's a restaurant meal, a tank of gas, a week's worth of lattes, or an iPhone repair. 

Related: Amazing Gift Card Deals at Costco and Sam's

Spiked Eggnog
Cosmetics Bag

Cosmetics Bag

This time of year, the selection of cosmetics bags goes beyond the usual, with options in rich velvet and all kinds of sparkle. They're ideal for those who like to touch up on the go, as well.

Related: 50 Gifts for Her Under $50

A Bottle and Corkscrew
Hair Appliances
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Hair Helpers

Someone obsessed with their coiffure can never have too many specialty products. Pick up a travel blow dryer, a hair straightener, or another fun gadget. 

Related: Gifts That Teen Girls Will Actually Like

Magazine Subscription

Magazine Subscription

Grab the latest issue of your recipient's favorite magazine, pull out the insert, and order a gift subscription. This way, you have something to wrap up and a gift that reminds them of you every month.

Hot Chocolate Kit
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Liquid and Cream Eye Makeup

Makeup Kit

Stores have "all-in-one" makeup kits — everything from glitzy eye shadow collections to the full-on makings of a completely new face, including shadow, blush, and lip color. Teens will go wild.

Nail Polishes

Nail Polish

Holiday parties scream out for fancy nails, and those who prefer to do their own manicures will enjoy a kit of a few nail polishes chosen in their favorite hue.

Cold-Weather Clothing

Cold-Weather Clothing

People who tend to lose gloves or misplace hats can never have too many, so consider giving some winter accessories to show your warm feelings.

Related: 50 Best Products for Surviving Winter

Stuffed Animal

Stuffed Animal

Who hasn't smiled at a plush version of their favorite animal or cartoon character? This one's an all-ages favorite, although kids will likely be most appreciative. 

Related: Holiday Gifts You Can Find at the Dollar Store

Movie Kit

Movie Kit

For a movie night in a bag, grab a holiday classic or family favorite on DVD, some microwave popcorn, and a soda.

Travel-Ready Board Games

Travel Board Games

Travel versions of popular board games will be much appreciated on the trip home from the holiday festivities, and can also be played throughout the year.

Car Emergency Kit
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Whether camping, ice skating, or watching a football game from the stands, a Thermos makes a welcome companion on a chilly day. It's a classic product that thoughtfully offers a bit of warmth.

Luna Vandoorne/shutterstock


Someone who's been talking about smoothies, protein shakes, or cocktails will appreciate getting a blender. The models available at work-a-day stores typically don't have all the bells and whistles, but they'll certainly do the job.

Card Games
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Ice Scraper and a Promise
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An Ice Scraper and a Promise

Hand over an ice scraper and expect a groan. Hand over an ice scraper with an IOU to get up early and scrape the car during the first storm of the season and you'll be a star. (Just keep that promise.)

Magnifying Glass
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Magnifying Glass

It's not a sign of getting older … well, maybe it is. But a magnifying glass comes in handy more often than you might imagine.

Craft Beer
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Mixed Nuts
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Picture Frame or Photo Album
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Photo Frame or Album

Despite the popularity of all things digital, an old-fashioned family photo or vacation snap displayed proudly in the living room is still welcome, and requires a pretty frame or photo album. 

Related: The Best Gifts for Photographers from Newbies to Pros

Flash Drive

Flash Drive

This is literally a backup gift. Handy in a crunch, sometimes in clever designs, and always needing replacement because they're too easy to lose or leave behind somewhere, flash drives make good gifts for anyone with a computer.

Earbuds or Headphones
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Recalculating the budget after a generous holiday season, or any serious bout of math, is less painful with a real calculator. Not everything should be done with a phone app.

Pet Toys or Treats
Historical and Global Icons
Historical and Global Icons by Storm Crypt (CC BY-NC-ND)

Commemorative Issues

The occasional commemorative magazine has become a constant, booming business. We spotted keepsake editions devoted to John Wayne, Barbra Streisand, and the local MLB team. These tend to top $10, making them a welcome gift for fans who may not have spent that much themselves.



We probably all have an umbrella — but quick, where is it? Is it convenient for the next sudden downpour? Or was it left behind in a cafe? An extra umbrella for a car, desk, or tote bag can prevent a drippy day.

Perfume Sampler

Perfume Sampler

For those who wear a different fragrance every day, holiday gift samplers make a fun gift and could lead to the discovery of a new favorite.

Coloring Books
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It can be helpful to have more than one calendar, with kids' activities posted in the kitchen, meetings on one in the home office, and so on. An extra calendar will get a workout.

Art Supplies

Art Supplies or Craft Kits

Stock up on art supplies for kids and let their creativity run wild — or decide on a craft kit that yields a specific project.

Flowers or Plant
Sauce Selection
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Sausage and Cheese Set
Inspirational Books
Andrii Kobryn/shutterstock

Inspirational Books

There are a surprising number of inexpensive inspirational books that can offer a little lift to someone with a spiritual outlook. (Be sure to steer clear of anything overtly religious if you're not sure where the recipient stands.) 

Related: Clever and Creative Gifts for Book Lovers

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Fully cooked bacon — no refrigeration needed — brings the makings of a great sandwich or, when the game's on, a party in a cardboard box.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening

Give the gift of a new smile with an at-home teeth-whitening kit. True, someone could take offense, but if a family member's been hinting at trying it, consider that a go-ahead.

Hair Accessories

Hair Accessories

We were amazed to find a rhinestone-studded hair clip at the grocery store — a salon-quality accessory just waiting to add the finishing touch to a holiday hairstyle.



Holiday indulgences include cheese boards filled with exotic selections. Add to the mix by buying from the gourmet section of the grocery store, and they'll think you made a special trip to the cheesemonger.

Reusable Grocery Bag
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Reusable Grocery Bags

Help someone commit to reusing grocery bags by buying a handful of the good canvas or insulated ones to keep in their car. The recipient — and the planet — will thank you.