Monday Musings: For the Last Minute Shoppers

Welcome to ‘Monday Musings’!

A new segment from Teenplicity, ‘Monday Musings’ will explore personal interests and thoughts in a multitude of ways. Whether it be through lists, fan interaction, or discussion posts, each week will offer a different topic and new perspective from Teenplicity about what is on our mind. The range of topics, just like our interests, will be vast. Some might be familiar, as it could highlight previous feature stars, while others will discuss uncharted subjects for Teenplicity. They might be fun posts with a silly twist or a more serious discussion about something that could concern you.

The goal is for Teenplicity to become more engaged and involved with our readers. The Teenplicity Team is made up of fans, just like you. Let us know what you care about – a show, a film, music, an event or aspect of your life. There are no limits for what can be explored in ‘Monday Musings’ or how we present it to you.

When it comes to giving gifts, I fall on either side of the spectrum. I either get gifts way too early or I procrastinate until the very last minute. With Christmas just a week away, you might be in a tough spot if you haven’t finished your gift buying yet.

Below is a list of some last-minute gift ideas that are easy to complete, good for your budget, and could be the perfect gift for that person who is hard to shop for.

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1.      Personal stocking.

Personalized stockings are not something new to Christmas. Whether or not you’ve had your own, it has become a staple of the many holiday themed shows and movies we all know and love. This may not be the most original gift but it can still be super meaningful – it all depends on how much heart you put into it.

Last year, I was really scrambling as to what to get my mom for Christmas that wasn’t the same as all the other years. It was around this time that I had picked up sewing again. In an effort to branch out of my gift rut, I purchased a red stocking from Walmart, gathered my sewing supplies and got to work. Now, I’m not claiming to be an expert on anything. My stitches are still a little crooked and sometimes can get far apart but I was sewing by hand and, by many cases, still a beginner. What mattered though is that I made an effort to make something personal for my mom and something she could cherish and reuse.

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I filled the stocking with small boxes and bags of her favorite candies, all around a dollar each. It was a sweet treat and surprise for her, especially since my family grew out of doing stockings years ago and my mom hasn’t gotten one in twice as long.

You can easily do this too as a gift or a special extra.

Sewing is fairly easy to pick up (the main struggle being patience and coordination, especially if you are doing it by hand) but it enables you to embellish an otherwise plain stocking into a personal item that reflects someone’s personality. Craft stores carry handfuls of items that can be sewed, glued, or ironed on. You can use them items as an echo of their hobbies, interests, or desires. And if you’re not sure how to do something, some stores actually have free workshops or you can look for tutorial videos online.

Being able to fill the stocking with candies or small knickknacks that the receiver likes is able to help you create a special and personal gift while keeping it within budget too!

2.      Photo albums, scrap books and/or picture frames.

Super original, once again. And also, once again, a gift I got for my mom. This one actually made her cry (in a good way!) so I’m pretty glad about that.

If you have someone in your life that has containers filled with old photos – like your parents or grandparents – or someone who is constantly posting photos on social media, you can use this to create an easily accessible physical trip down memory lane.

What really helps with this is finding a theme. For my mom, I made four photo albums: individual albums for myself and each of my siblings of us growing up and then another that was simply filled with family photos. I organized the pictures in chronological order and wrote a special note on the inside of each book. What made this great is that the photos no longer sit in containers down in the basement but are in reach on a shelf in my living room where they can be looked at whenever it is called upon. No more digging through containers or shuffling through dozens of photos. To be honest, it’s pretty great for the rare dinners that myself and all of my siblings are able to gather together around my mom’s kitchen table.

If you’re more creative and are able to do more hands-on work, creating a scrapbook is a great option to add more photos and personalize each page. It’s also a neat way to organize the photos and add embellishments that won’t directly affect or damage them.

You can do this for that person who is always posting on social media too. It’s just a matter of saving the photos and organizing them to be printed out. If that person doesn’t seem like the type to care for an album, you can always buy a picture frame or shadow box which they can hang on their wall. There are some great tutorials on YouTube as to how to make your own shadowbox and they are fairly easy. If you spring for a plain frame, feel free to grab a hot glue gun and add something to the borders or the corners – even if it’s just a reflection of what’s happening in the photo, like a beach item for photo on the sand.

Big retail stores also do discounts on prints that are more than sixty photos or more than one hundred, depending on where you shop. So keep an eye out for that as it can really cut down costs and save you on ink!

3.      Something practical.

Okay, hear me out on this. I am someone who loves practical gifts. Seriously. I am that person who asks for socks when anyone wants to know what I want for Christmas. But these types of gifts don’t have to be boring or seem lame. A really cool practical gift that can also be super stylish is a beanie and/or an infinity scarf. Amazon offers some great packages that include a beanie and infinity scarf together for a price that won’t break the bank. I’ve gotten really nice winter gloves for Christmas too that kept my hands warm and I will forever be grateful for them. Find out what’s practical for the person you’re shopping for. You can always tailor the smallest of gifts to be practical and special for them. If they have a business or are trying to get their name out there, you can always order pens that have their business or name on them as a surprise. That can be a bit pricier but it offers them promotional material as well as something they can use daily.

Practical gifts take a bit more thought than anything else because while you want it to be practical, you also don’t want it to seem impersonal. So get to know things that they use daily, something they might need more of, and make it a little personal or special. I’m not saying put googly eyes and a smile on a package of batteries (unless that’s something they’d be really into) but just focus on what could help them and maybe wouldn’t be something that they’d get themselves!

4.      Something for their pet/kids.

For this one, I’m speaking strictly from the point of view of a dog owner. I am totally chill and actually love when people get me a gift and it’s actually something for my pup. Not only does seeing my dog exude pure happiness just warm me from my heart to my toes, but it also gives the both of us a break from each other. He can enjoy his toy or bone and I can relax and appreciate the moment as he’d be too busy with this new present to paw my foot for the millionth time for yet another belly rub.

When it comes to getting a gift for a friend that’s for their kids too, think of games. It can just be a simple board game – from Monopoly to Candyland to Sorry! – or a puzzle. This is an activity that the whole family can enjoy together during the holidays while it is something that can also be just for the kids. A fun activity too is getting an old video game system. They’re relatively inexpensive at retailers like Bed, Bath and Beyond and you can get an old Sega system that’s loaded with 60 games or one that plugs into the TV like Pong. It’s a fun bonding experience where the grownups can share their memories of the games while teaching their kids what they know.

5.      Craft project.

I bet you’re sick of me mentioning crafts by now, huh? I promise, this is the last of it.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with homemade crafts, especially smaller ones that can be placed on windowsills or desks. One year, I decorated my grandpa as gingerbread man (literally, it looked like his twin) and he kept it on his counter every day for following five years.

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I know that homemade gifts kind of get pushed aside as you get older but they’re awesome and from the heart. It always means more when you see that someone put a lot of time, effort, and thought into the gift.

Craft stores sell plain ceramic figurines that you can paint and decorate whatever way you want. If the person is an animal lover, you can always make or buy a plain birdhouse and paint it yourself as well. For those of you that are good with sewing, throw pillows make for great gifts too. If you’re good are creating or editing videos, a tribute or funny video works is an incredible gift to enjoy and reflect on. Seriously, if you have a talent then use it. You would be amazed at what you can create when you take that special angle and apply it to something personal for someone in your life.

Good luck to the last minute gift finders this season! Have a happy and safe holiday season!

Did you like ‘Monday Musings’? If so, you’re in luck! Each week, Teenplicity will feature a new ‘Monday Musings’ post about things we are looking forward to, topics close to our hearts, or suggestions from readers!

Do you have a suggestion for ‘Monday Musings’? You can let Teenplicity know what you’d like to see on Twitter or anonymously on Tumblr! Or you can directly contact Mary Ayers on Twitter and anonymously on Tumblr or Brie Garrett on Twitter and Tumblr

24. Television and radio production graduate. || I think some people underestimate the range and variety of things that interest younger generations. I'm determined not to.

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