Updated: October 09, 2022

12 Best Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas for Work in 2023

You found our list of good last minute Christmas gift ideas for work.

Last minute Christmas gift ideas are gift suggestions that are orderable and sendable in the days leading up to the holiday. For example, digital gift cards, streaming services, and team building credits. The purpose of these suggestions is to ensure on-time arrival of presents without sacrificing quality or thoughtfulness. These items are also known as “last minute holiday gifts.”

For other gifting ideas, check out these lists of luxury corporate gifts, budget-friendly employee gifts, work from home gifts, and swag gifts.

This post contains:

  • last minute holiday gifts for coworkers
  • last minute holiday gifts for employees
  • last minute holiday gifts for bosses
  • last minute holiday gifts for clients

Here we go!

Last minute holiday gifts for coworkers and employees

You swore you would take care of your professional holiday gift giving with time to space, when suddenly, it is the week before Christmas and you have yet to purchase a single present. With holiday delays in the mail system, it is too risky to leave it up to chance that your gift will come in time. Here is a list of general last minute gifts for employees.

Hands tying a black bow on a box

1. Digital Gift Cards

Digital gift cards are the easiest last minute gift to give. You just have to know your recipients’ email address, and you can send a credit in minutes. There are corporate gift platforms like Giftogram that streamline the sending process, and you can often import email lists and gift-give in bulk. Also, you can often distribute online gift cards to staff via employee engagement software programs. Even if you are in-office, sending digital gift cards tends to be a more convenient option because ecards save a trip to the store and time spent waiting to activate the cards. This approach frees recipients from the hassle of having to keep track of physical cards, as they can store the credit in their phone’s wallet app or search their email inbox at the time of redemption. In general, gift cards are a good choice because this gift gives employees the freedom to pick out a treat that they will actually enjoy.

Large-scale retailers like Amazon, Starbucks, or Visa are typically a safe bet for gift cards. These stores are accessible to most folks and tend to carry a wide variety of inventory, meaning many gift choices.

However, ever since the pandemic, many local retailers have also started offering e-gift card options. If you feel that sending a gift card is too impersonal, and want to take a more thoughtful approach, then you can send remote employees or clients gift cards to small businesses such as coffee shops, restaurants, or bakeries in their home city.

2. Lunch

Everybody eats, and few folks will turn down a chance at a free meal. Lunch is one of the best last-minute gift options. This gift does not usually require ahead-of-time planning, since you often do not need reservations to dine out at lunchtime. Because most workers already plan mealtimes into the workday, scheduling tends not to be too much of an issue, and you can often simply extend the normal lunch break. This option also tends to be affordable, as lunch tends to be budget-friendly. Plus, you can give a meal as a group gift and split the costs. For instance, a department might pitch in to treat an assistant or a boss. This gift idea gives teammates the opportunity to connect and spend time together in a non-work context, which can strengthen the relationship.

For best results, allow the recipient to choose the restaurant. If treating a group, then you can put the spot to a vote.

For remote employees, send a meal delivery service gift card, or offer to reimburse the cost of a takeout meal.

Here is a guide to doing virtual team lunches.

3. Streaming Credits

Covering costs of streaming services is one of the easiest last minute gifts to give employees. The tricky part is figuring out which services staff already subscribe to. One way to accomplish this task is to have team members fill out a survey under the guise of coordinating a team movie night. Keep in mind that even if employees already use a platform, they may be grateful for a free month, or for extra credit to use towards watching a new release movie.

You can also give employees the option to choose which streaming service they would prefer as a gift. This gesture can give teammates the option to choose a service that has content they enjoy, but do not want to pay for separately. Timing-wise, the holidays are a good time to offer this gift, as many teammates will be traveling or getting together with loved ones, and could use a variety of entertainment.

Be sure to choose a service that offers the ability to send credit or purchase a one-time gift as opposed to signing up for a subscription you may not be able to control. You can also offer to reimburse a few months of streaming services in the new year.

4. Virtual Tasting Classes

Virtual Tasting Classes are one of the most fun last minute gifts to give. Many of these classes come with kits. An expert sets up a Zoom call to lead individuals or groups through a tasting. Recipients do not necessarily need to have the materials or complete the class before Christmas, meaning no need to rush shipping. You can simply tell employees that you will be covering the cost of the class, and allow recipients to sign up for a time slot and receive the package at a time that is most convenient for them.

Here are examples:

This gifting option is an especially neat idea for a dispersed workforce because recipients can attend the class and enjoy the present from almost anywhere. Also, this offering is not merely a material gift, but rather an entire experience.

5. Virtual Yoga or guided meditation

Most gift-givers tend to avoid fitness-related gifts out of fear of offending the recipient. However, since yoga doubles as a stress reliever, virtual classes are a fine gift for employers to give employees. Not to mention, yoga is usually low-impact and enjoyable by a wide audience.

Many yoga studios or meditation centers offer guided virtual classes that can be purchased a la carte, as a package of a set number of sessions, or on a subscription basis. You can send employees these services as a gift, or offer to reimburse the cost of them taking classes with a provider of their choice.

This is an especially timely gift because yoga or guided meditation can help reduce holiday stress and jumpstart new year’s resolutions.

For more information, check out this guide to team building yoga and this list of employee wellness ideas.

6. Extra time off

Extra time off is one of the most meaningful last minute gifts bosses could give employees. As the holiday approaches and you find yourself with less time to shop for staff, you can give your team the gift of time by offering a few hours, a half day, or even a full day of paid time off.

The unexpected time off gives team members the opportunity to spend more time with loved ones and enjoy the holiday. Since the break is unplanned, chances are teammates will have a chance to actually relax or spend quality time with their immediate family members, instead of booking up with other holiday plans and responsibilities.

Be sure to clear this allowance with HR and leadership before announcing the perk to your team.

Here are more employee perks and benefits to consider for the new year.

Last minute holiday gift ideas for bosses

Here are suggestions for easy gifts for bosses at the last minute.

7. Team Photo

Team photos are low-cost and relatively low-maintenance present options, yet can be a sentimental gift for the boss. The gesture will be especially meaningful for first time managers, or if the leader oversees a remote team who is rarely together in person.

If working in-office, then schedule a time for the team to come together and snap a group picture. You can plan a fun photo such as a group pose with Santa or a costumed shoot, or simply coordinate a team portrait. If the team is remote, then you can take a screenshot on Zoom, or enlist a team member with photo editing skills to make a composite photo.

This gift does require a tiny bit of effort, coordination, and time, however you can organize the gift quickly, and the present can have an impact.

8. Slack Emojis

Creating a custom set of Slack emojis for your boss is a creative and fun improvised gift idea. For example, you can make emojis from a portrait or make a pixel version of the boss, feature their pets, pull images from their favorite TV show or movie, illustrate phrases they say often, or upload graphics of their favorite foods. Depending on how detailed you want the images to be, creating the graphic sets could take a couple of minutes or a couple of hours. If you create graphics from scratch, then the process can take a couple of hours, however using pre-made images will take mere minutes. For high-quality results, you may want to enlist the help of an artistically-gifted teammate.

Here is a guide to making custom emojis on Slack.

9. Wine Subscriptions

With a few clicks of a button, you can send wine online. Subscription services like Winc offer gifting options where you can send a virtual credit to a recipient that can be redeemed for bottles that suit the giftee’s palate. This gifting option is especially apt for the holiday season, as your boss may be doing a good deal of entertaining or party going and could make good use of a few extra bottles of wine. Best of all, this option allows the giftee to pick out their own bottles of wine.

Before giving this gift, double-check to ensure that your boss is ok with receiving wine as a gift, and confirm that their home state allows alcohol to be shipped.

10. Virtual Assistants

As busy as employees may be around the holidays, chances are, bosses are busier. Securing a couple of hours with a virtual assistant can help your boss enjoy the holidays more. Your manager may choose to use the help to catch up on tasks pre-break, or to start the new year on a more organized note.

You can find virtual assistant services on freelancer sites like Fiverr and Upwork, or may be able to book a la carte services from a virtual assistant business.

Here is a list of executive assistant tools to help with organization.

Last minute holiday gift ideas for clients

Here is a list of last minute gift options to give to clients for Christmas.

11. Team Building Credit

Team Building Credit is one of the more unique last minute gifting options. This gift is one that your client’s whole team can enjoy for hours, and it can communicate how grateful you are for the entire organization. This present is a way for your client to have fun with their teams and strengthen their workforce with little to no investment on their part. You can send them the credit, and they can book an event of their choosing at a time that is most convenient for them. Chances are, this is a gift your client will not receive from other vendors, and is sure to stand out.

You can contact your TeamBuilding advisor to request a quote.

12. Gourmet Gift Card

Gift baskets full of gourmet goodies are a corporate gifting staple around the holidays, however there are a couple of problems with ordering these assortments last minute. The gifts may not come in time for the holidays, and chances are, clients are already inundated with snack-y gifts. Plus, Christmas is a very food-heavy holiday, and recipients may appreciate the freedom to order a treat later in the year. Also, if you pick out food for your client, then you run the risk of ordering items they are allergic to or may not particularly like.

A better gifting option is to send gourmet gift credits to services like Goldbelly or Mouth.com. Both of these sites offer e-gift cards you can email to recipients, and have a wide variety of treats to suit any taste. The ordering options are often large enough to share with the whole office. (Or not! No judgment!)

Final Thoughts

Sending a rushed and thoughtless gift can defeat the purpose and impact of holiday gift-giving. The purpose of holiday presents is to generate goodwill and show thanks, and no recipient wants to feel like a chore or an afterthought. The gifts on this list take very little time and planning, however still show caring, consideration, and originality.

For more holiday cheer, check out holiday team building ideas and holiday scavenger hunt templates.

We also have a list of the best ideas for care packages and a list of the best client gift ideas.

FAQ: Last minute Christmas gifts for work

Here are answers to common questions about Last minute Christmas gifts for work.

What are last minute gift ideas?

Last minute gift ideas are recommendations for gifts that can be given or sent instantly, with no need for processing or mailing time. These presents are ideal when professionals are short on time or have forgotten to pick out a present.

What are some good last minute gifts for colleagues?

Some good last minute gifts for colleagues include e-gift cards, complimentary lunches, wine subscriptions, or virtual tasting classes.

What should you consider when choosing a last minute gift?

When choosing a last-minute gift, you ideally want to avoid looking like you put no thought or effort into the gesture. The best instant gift ideas are quick and easy without seeming lazy. These gifts allow recipients the freedom to pick out their own presents and are practical and useful. The best last-minute gifts take the recipient’s tastes and interests into account, and are either highly convenient or personal. It is also a good idea to choose gifts that are redeemable at any point during the year, as recipients are likely to be busy during the holidays.

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Marketing Coordinator at teambuilding.com.
Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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