15 Stellar Gift Ideas for Last-Minute Shoppers

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: January 19, 2012

Unique, Affordable Last-Minute Gifts

Whether you celebrate Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Christmas or Festivus (and who doesn't love the Airing of Grievances?), holiday gift-giving is in full swing. To that end, we've put together a bunch of awesome gifts for the people on your list.

And don't worry, we know even though there's talk of economic recovery, most of us are still a little light in the wallet. So we made sure most of these gifts fall securely under the $50 mark.

Happy shopping.

"Where I've Been" Scratch Travel Map

This lottery ticket inspired travel map is perfect for that loved one who travels a lot, or wants to.

One side is a map of the world covered with a golden sheen that can be scratched off like a lottery ticket after you've visited there. The other side is a blank, white map that lets you pinpoint all the places on your bucket list.

Short of paying for the trip yourself, this is the next best thing.

Cargo Cool Traveler Suitcases (Set of 3)

Do you long for the 1950s? Got a friend who appreciates looking retro-chic, even when she travels?

Check out these throwback suitcases to help her travel to all the places she hasn't yet scratched off the aforementioned map!

Salt Essentials Collection

What to get the food geek who has everything? Salt of course!

Fancy salt from Cyprus, Himalaya, Australia and France to be specific. It doesn't matter if you think the salt on your French fries is good enough to use everywhere, because foodies love this stuff and they'll think you're completely thoughtful and brilliant for finding such a thing.

2008 Alysian Cresta Ridge Russian River Chardonnay

Whining during the holidays is bad, but this holiday wining is definitely something people will enjoy.

And because picking out wine can be a daunting task when selecting for a friend with an excellent palette, let Williams-Sonoma help you by recommending one of the December wine selections.

This Chardonnay from Gary Farrell is not only chicken and turkey friendly, it's strong and tasty enough to make even the in-laws seem interesting.

Beer Tasting Glass Set

In college you drank whatever beer was on sale and gulped it down straight from the bottle. Or possibly from a funnel or Viking helmet.

And while you're still content with the cheap stuff, we've all got that one friend who has turned into a certified beer snob. So let him opine about the hops and barley by getting him these assorted glasses, each of which unlocks the taste and flavor of his precious pints.

Wine Sack

You've heard of "Wine in a Box?" Well, meet its more sophisticated cousin, the "Wine Sack."

What looks like a purse is actually a sack-o-wine, perfect for frequent travelers. Or those who want to make the opera and ballet bearable.

Drink responsibly.

Fifty Dresses That Changed the World

The title of this book speaks for itself.

For the fashionista on your list, she'll surely appreciate this in-depth look at the designs that changed the face of the now $300 billion fashion industry.

Although you can't give them these iconic dresses, we're sure they'll appreciate the gesture.

We bet Anna Wintour would agree.

1-Year Subscription to GQ Magazine

It's fashionable, political and witty. And with busy schedules, it's hard to keep up with what the DiCaprios and Clooneys of the world are wearing.

For the guy on your list that wants to stay up-to-date with the latest fashion, tech trends and important events, a GQ subscription fits the bill.

Texting Gloves

Don't ask us how these gloves work, just know they do. Something about silver nylon, which sounds super hi-tech.

Now your friend or loved one can keep their digits warm while updating their twitter status. And for the ladies who expect more style from their text-friendly gloves, these are also available in stylish colors.

Handmade Bamboo iPhone Case

If you know someone addicted to their iPhone, you may want to consider the beautiful wood iphone case (they also have ones for the ipad & macbook pro).

Available in options like walnut, bamboo, wenge and zebrawood--these cases are quite the unique holiday gift.

Plus, it will make your friend feel green (as in environmentally conscious, not with envy).

Polaroid Instant Mobile Printer

It's a Polaroid camera for your phone.

Got a friend who constantly takes and posts photos from their phone? Well now they can instantly print those shots too. Which, depending on what they're photographing at the time, could be a good thing or a bad thing.

Best not to combine this gift with the wine sack, just to be on the safe side.

His-and-Her Coffee Mugs

We all know that one married couple who are annoyingly in love with one another.

They still text each other love notes every day. They have sickeningly sweet pet names for each other. Arguments frequently take place regarding who loves who more. But despite how much you make fun of them, it's nice to see them still so in love.

So whether you're buying for the newlyweds or the lovebirds who are still happily married after many years, they'll totally love and appreciate the sentiment and will be more than happy to sip their coffee together every morning in these cute coffee cups.

Picnic-Basket Set

With work and personal obligations constantly coming up, romance has a tendency to take a backseat to more pressing issues. So what better way to reignite that spark than to provide a beleaguered couple with the makings of a lovely picnic meant for two?

Babysitter for Yogi and Boo-Boo not included.

"I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie" Tote Bag

Inspired by Sir Mixalot's chart-topping single from 1992, this clever bag is perfect for the hip book worm in your life who needs to carry around their latest Jonathan Franzen novel.

And by the way, we apologize in advance for having that song in your head for the rest of the day!

Some Good Reading: 1Q84

If you don't know about 1Q84, you should. And if your friend has already read it when you give it to them, that's OK---you'll still look really hip just for knowing about it.

Called a "mega novel" by New York Times, the book was a runaway phenomenon in Japan and Haruki Murakami will make you want to pick one up for yourself too.