The Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide


What are your favorite holiday traditions? I’ll start. Growing up, my parents would let my sister and I open one (1) present after staying up to attend midnight mass. On some level, it was thrilling because when else would my parents sanction staying up past midnight? We’d get so delirious and rambunctious, speaking our own silent language because we thought the priest was telepathic.

Once, a person in the pew in front of us accidentally dropped their Chapstick onto their seat. The mass of my youth involved a lot of standing up and sitting down. We spent the whole night biting the insides of our cheeks, holding back laughter as we waited for the tube to align with their butt crack.

However, a close second is writing an ITG roundup for the stragglers who, on December 17, are still frantically shopping for their nearest and dearest. (Three years makes it a tradition!) Here are some of the gifts you still have time to order for a December 24 arrival! I’d say plan ahead next year, but then I wouldn’t get to write this article. Where’s the fun in that?

Color-changing nail polish

I present to you color-changing nail polishes. One reacts to changes in temperature, so it will shift in color when rubbed or dunked into your iced tea. The second is photosensitive, so it’s one color indoors and another outdoors.

Make it memorable: Offer them your coffee to submerge their fingers into.

Cheese husbandry Kit

The only thing standing between them and 13lbs of Italian cheese is about an hour and this kit.

Make it memorable: Purchase a money-holding greeting card from your local drugstore. Fill it with Lactaid tablets.

A compact disc player

I don’t need to sit here and insult your intelligence as though you haven’t noticed the 2000s are back. The other day on the train, I saw the most period-accurate recreation of a 2000’s era outfit. A flipped-out Meg Ryan bob. Flared pinstripe dress pants. A teener tiny fitted vest over a long white tank top. It’s like she was dressed for one of my middle school band concerts. If that isn’t a sign that the aughts are alive and well, I don’t know what is!

Make it memorable: Include one of their favorite albums and a printout of this review that left me frozen in place.

cd review

Kimchi Fermenting Kit

Gotta be honest; making my own kimchi sounds like a blasty blast.

Make it memorable: Also supply the cabbage.

Hai Showerhead

One of the lowest-effort, highest-yield upgrades I’ve ever made in my home is to replace my shower head. And during the year that we realized celebrities don’t bathe all that much, what more timely gift could there be? This one has a broader surface area, so more of the giftee’s naked body is covered by the customizable streams, which range from Gorillas in the Mist to The Notebook kiss.

Make it memorable: Nab it in their favorite color—this baby comes in six colors, including baby pink, baby blue, and persimmon red.

A celebrity encounter

The premise of Cameo is simple. You hire a famous person to record a video message to a loved one. It’s sent to you in just a few days, and pleasant memories are cemented in the hippocampus. Even browsing the Cameo library is a treat and, often, a walk down memory lane. It includes Leslie Jordan, Kimmy Gibbler, the guy from the Toxic video, Todrick Hall, Twitter royalty Dionne Warwick, the host of "To Catch a Predator," Taryn Manning, or (if you chip in with a few friends) Lindsay Lohan herself.

Make it memorable: Ask Dionne Warwick to weigh in on Taylor Swift’s scarf.

A gift card that doesn’t suck

Some things are entirely too personal to rob someone of the real gift of self-selection.

  • Backdrop
    Not only do you not want to pick out a paint color for someone else’s home, but you also shouldn’t. Every wall in my house is painted with Backdrop paint. It just works. The cozy beige Ryokan Guesthouse is a personal favorite—the fourth slide is of my bedroom!

  • Summer Fridays
    Skincare for people who aspire to only wear an oversized hoodie and underwear. (I know I do!) You can’t go wrong with their cult-favorite Jet Lag Mask, but I also rely heavily on their Super Amino Cleanser for its gentle nature and baby cologne scent.

  • Vacation
    This is one of the tightly-branded product launches in recent history. Every aspect of their product and marketing is so immersive and in-character. Vacation is known for its fantastically-smelling sunscreen, which subsequently inspired/informed an eau de toilette, and most recently, candles. Their trademark scent includes coconut, orange blossom, pool water, and inflatable toy, which I’m just as happy to surround myself with in December as I am in July.

Make it memorable: Write a pseudonym in the “from” area. Figuring out who sent it then becomes a whodunnit mystery night. Two birds, one scone!

—Or Gotham

Photo via Netflix