The 5 best last-minute Christmas gifts that don’t require shipping

We're experts in leaving things to the last minute.
Photograph of a surprised man in a Santa hat holding a clock

As we edge closer to the festive season, work begins to ramp up as we barrel towards the end of the year. Before you know it, it’s the week before Christmas. Shopping store shelves have been pillaged, and your Amazon wish list delivers the dreadful news: this item will not arrive before Christmas. Either that, or all the best gift ideas you had are either out of stock, or not going to arrive in time for Christmas.

I’ve got decades of experience leaving things to the last minute. But those years of experience have given me the ability to track down worthwhile gifts at the very last minute. Last minute gifts that are a little more thoughtful than a BWS gift card.

Here are my top five last minute Christmas gifts.

1. Masterclass

Online courses from over 90 renowned experts.

David Lynch - Masterclass
David Lynch teaches creativity and film on Masterclass

Does your loved one have a simmering passion for fashion? Or maybe a hidden flair for drama? Give them the education kick they need with one of Masterclass’s online courses from what it calls over “90 of the world’s best minds.”

Let Queer Eye’s Tan France give them a dressing down with his twelve-part series on style. Or give them acting advice courtesy of the one and only Helen Mirren in her whopping twenty-seven part series.

You can even buy them an exclusive ticket to the wild and wonderful mind of director David Lynch, who has his own twelve-part teachings on creativity and film.

A year’s subscription to Masterclass costs $280 but you can opt to pay $15.95 per month if you’re not sure they’ll stick with it.

2. Subscription box

Monthly or bi-monthly surprises.

Escape the Crate
Escape the Crate – boxed Escape Room subscription

Sites like Cratejoy offer subscription boxes for everyone in your life. There are monthly and bi-monthly options for food and wine subscriptions, mystery book subscriptions, self-care products, boxes for coffee-fiends and more.

This year, we’ve gifted Escape the Crate, an escape room style subscription packed with themed puzzles and brainteasers.

Sure, the actual box itself won’t arrive by Christmas,  but the gift is the subscription itself.

Prices on subscription boxes vary, but Escape the Crate costs US$29.99 for two months, $US57.98 for four months, US$83.98 for six months, or US$159 for twelve months.

3. Dinner or experience

Fine dining, sky diving, whatever floats their boat.

Fine Dining

Sure, this one is bordering on gift card territory but there’s something a little more thoughtful about gifting an experience. Sites like Redballoon offer a tonne of experiences that Australians won’t have to travel far for.

You can wine and dine them, send them off for some R&R at a day spa, fire them off in a hot air balloon or drop them from a plane. There’s plenty of options if you want to treat or torture your loved ones.

4. Cameo

Shout outs from celebrities.

Cameo
Celebrity shout outs with Cameo

Mostly good for a goof, Cameo offers paid shootouts from a huge list of celebrities. Sure, the calibre varies greatly, but if you sift through the endless list of TikTok stars and Insta-famous celebs, you’ll find some real gold.

Simple Plan’s lead singer will wish your reformed emo friend a Merry Christmas for under $100, Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath will hang a halo from your girlfriend’s four post bed, or Ric Flair will bring the smackdown to your wrestling obsessed friend. Woo. 

5. Streaming subscription gift card

A year’s worth of entertainment sorted.

Disney Plus Australia and New Zealand
Disney Plus streaming service

Lastly, there’s the gift of entertainment. When all the ham is gone, and the mulled wine has run dry, there’s one thing every Australian likes to do, veg out to some classic movies like Home Alone or Die Hard.

Most Australian streaming services offer the option to gift subscriptions, but we recommend something niche, like a Shudder subscription for the horror fans in your life, or an annual Disney Plus sub for the Star Wars, Marvel or Disney Classic fan in your life.

Sidenote: If someone you know owns an Xbox, you can do worse than gifting them a year of Game Pass. For between, $10.95 and $15.95 per month, Game Pass gives you access to over 100+ games, and generous discounts across PC and Xbox. It’s worth every cent. This is a particularly good gift if someone you know was lucky enough to lock down the new Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S.