Mrs. Claus

Donna Lahoda places Christmas presents onto a cart as she off loads her van at the Victory Apartments.

As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve always been a terrible procrastinator. Christmas is no exception.

Year after year I find myself scrambling at the last minute searching high and low for the perfect gift. Usually, without fail, I end up settling on something slightly more mediocre — such as a gift cards. As much as I curse myself for waiting so long — and vow to never let it happen again — I always find myself repeating the same tragic mistake over and over.

And I know I’m not alone.

In fact, judging by the longer-than-normal wait times at some of my favorite stores, it would seem a lot of people are guilty of waiting until the last minute to take care of their Christmas shopping. As much as they hope to find a unique and meaningful present for their friends and family, they will — like me — end up feeling less-than-impressed with what can only be described as a lazy man’s gift giving.

To help avoid feeling forced to hand out cash and gift cards as a last resort, I’ve done my research and found 10 unique and different last-minute gift ideas that are sure to turn a few heads.

1. Subscription services. Whether the person you're shopping for is a pet lover or a jewelry lover, there’s a subscription service for everyone. For a monthly fee, subscription holders can enjoy everything from jewelry and clothing rental to pet toys and beauty product samples.

2. Custom calendar. In a society that loves to take pictures, why not capture the moment with a customized calendar? Simply log onto your favorite photo sharing website — Shutterfly or Amazon PRIME for example — and create a gift that will last a lifetime...or at least the next year.

3. Lottery ticket scratch offs. If you’re looking for something simple yet entertaining, consider gifting lottery ticket scratch offs. If friends and family are of legal age, lottery scratch offs are a great way to put a unique spin on giving cash for Christmas.

4. Netflix gift card. A newer option in the last few years, give the gift of binge-watching with a Netflix gift card. Members can use it to pay their bill and non-members can start a new subscription.

5. Mini succulents. In my opinion, mini succulents are a great idea for coworkers or an acquaintance you may not know as well. Succulents, which are thick-leaved ornamental plants, can grow even in dry conditions and require little active maintenance.

6. Monthly flower delivery. Similar to other subscription services, you can send your sweetheart a monthly bouquet of flowers for a fee. With this gift, every month will seem like a special occasion. Check out Bloomsy Box for more details.

7. 100 Books Scratch Off Poster. For your favorite bookworm, consider the 100 books scratch off poster from Uncommongoods.com. He or she can read through 100 of the greatest works while scratching off each title to reveal its infamous artwork.

8. Spa gift card. What better gift can you give than the gift of relaxation? Treat your honey to an afternoon of his or her favorite spa treatments. It’s sure to be well received.

9. Home wine delivery. For the wine-lover in your life, check out Winc Wine Delivery. To start, you answer a series of questions for the person you're buying for and the delivery service then matches up your mate’s preferences with the perfect selection of wines. The selected bottles will then be shipped right to their doorstep.

10. Donations in your recipient's name. For the philanthropist in your group, consider a donation to the charity of their choice. Simply log onto Heifer International to send an eGift card, which allows the receiver to choose from a wide range of charities.

Do you have any unique last-minute gift ideas? Share them in the comments below.

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Amanda Smith is not affiliated with any of these businesses and was not paid to promote their products. 

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Amanda Smith, a working mom of two children, writes weekly for momaha.com. Read more from Amanda »

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