If procrastination is winning the gift shopping battle, you can emerge victorious by running down to your local art, science, or history museum to grab a gift membership. It will seem like something that you put a lot of thought into, finding a gift that enriches their lives, exposes them to new cultures, and all that junk.
If you’ve got no time for shopping or delivery, it’s time to look in your community and see what options you have. There are likely things to do in your area that you don’t even know exist. Take a cooking class together, try indoor skydiving, maybe even plan a trip together and offer to cover some of the costs as your gift. At the end of it all, people don’t look back and wish they had more things, they reflect on their memories and experiences.
When you’ve put it off and put it off again, and need to get a gift TODAY, it’s time to get creative. Batteries are something that everyone is in a constant state of running out of. Nothing is worse than needing to replace a battery only to discover you need drop what you’re doing and run to the store, or go without your electronics. Plus they’re kind of expensive so people don’t always buy them in bulk. When they open your gift - a heavy box crammed full of AA batteries, they’ll be a little confused at first, but they’ll thank you for years to come as the gift will be save the day time and time again.
If you’re out of ideas and out of time, there’s always the one thing that never rarely fails - booze. Run over to your local ABC store and grab something nice. Extra points if you can find a bottle as old as they are. One could argue that a cheap bottle of Aristocrat is actually more of a punishment than a gift, so keep your eyes off that bottom shelf.
Imagine their surprise when you tell them you're on the way to pick them up, and then roll up in a stretch limo. Rent it for a few hours so they have enough time to make several stops. Do some normal stuff, but in a limo - maybe take them to the drug store or to get groceries. Then go out on the town for dinner and drinks (or just drink in the limo). Take a limo to the mall for a shopping spree and score double points. On any given day there are plenty of limos available to rent immediately in most cities. It'll be fun for you too, and they'll tell stories about it for years.
If you want a last minute gift that doesn’t seem like one, you can get an instant subscription to the Adobe Creative Suite in their name. It will give them access to the most powerful creative applications on Earth, well, in the cloud actually. They’ll be able to make professional videos, animations, music, websites, graphic artwork and more, and of course, they’ll always have the latest version of Photoshop.
When traveling, some people really like an element of predictability to anchor their experience in an unfamiliar place. With a recognizable name like Hilton, you know exactly what to expect. Unfortunately, that name and that predictability come at a premium. You can help take the sting out of a vacation’s most expensive element by picking up the tab ahead of time.
Lottery tickets are a great gift you can pick up at your local convenience store, that come with a serious upside. If they win big you may get a piece of the action. Lottery tickets are often things that people won't buy for themselves, believing that they never win anything, but who could help but get their hopes up when you present them with a dozen chances to strike it rich and travel the world in a super yacht?
Buy them a couple tickets to a great event or show as a little test. Will they give the extra ticket to you? You just gave them this very thoughtful gift, after all. Or do they keep them both. In which case, maybe they just get a box of chocolates from the drug store next time.