Last-Minute Birthday Gift Ideas

Missed a close friend or family member's birthday? Is their birthday today or tomorrow, and you need last-minute birthday gift ideas immediately? Luckily, selecting a last-minute birthday gift that looks personalized and not thrown together doesn't have to be a chore.

A Day of Celebration: Gift Cards and Lunch
While many people think gift cards are impersonal, selecting a gift card to someone's favorite store as a birthday gift is actually a great choice. Not only is the person guaranteed to get something they love, but also half of the fun is going shopping without spending their own money. Personalize the last-minute gift even more by including a handwritten and decorated gift certificate for lunch, too. Take the friend shopping to use their gift card and then grab a bite to eat afterward. The gift is fun to open and something to look forward to, and it lets someone keep celebrating their birthday for a little bit longer.

Movie Night: Movies, Snacks and Additional Entertainment
Time may be short when putting together a last-minute birthday gift. Instead of heading to the mall and looking for the perfect gift, consider heading to an all-purpose store in the area. Many might carry older movies for a reasonable price. Select one especially for a friend or family member, and then shop around for other small items to fill the basket. Think of goodies that might make the movie-watching experience a special treat. Include soda, candy bars and other snacks. For women, include a bottle of nail polish and emery boards so that she can give herself a manicure while watching. For a man, throw in an issue of Sports Illustrated or Maxim. Put the gift together in a basket, a bucket or whatever seasonal containers happen to be available at the store.

A Special Evening: Drinks and Dinner
Spacing out before the birthday of a significant other is dangerous. This is no time to worry about spending money or your own personal tastes. Dress up, make reservations and head out to somewhere fancy for drinks and dinner. Don't forget the roses!

Forgot the birthday of the man in your life, or someone not interested in being wined and dined? Still head out for a romantic evening, but instead of dinner and wine, head out for a beer and quiz night at the local pub or to watch the game. The goal of the evening is to put personal tastes and preferences aside and do something the birthday girl or boy would want to do.

The Day Trip: A Few of Their Favorite Things
Stuck at the office and realize the last-minute birthday gift needs to be purchased right away? Consider purchasing an outing online. Buy a getaway to a nearby bed-and-breakfast for the weekend for a lover. Purchase tickets to a local football or baseball team for a sports fan. Country music lovers might like tickets to Tim McGraw or Carrie Underwood at a nearby stadium, while knitters might be surprised and excited with tickets to the next and nearest sheep-and-wool festival or knitting classes at a local shop.

Take a minute, think about what the birthday girl or boy likes to do, and go online to find something nearby that he or she might enjoy. It should take less than an hour, but it shows that the birthday gift took some thought and personalization. If the event is coming up soon, make sure that either the company can ship you the tickets in time for the event or that you can pick up the tickets at a will-call window. No matter what, you'll still look like you planned ahead.

Not Personal but Popular: Gifts for Anyone
Need a super-duper birthday gift that says, "I didn't forget your birthday- you mean the world to me?" Think about popular products on the market today. Some of the hottest products make great birthday gifts for someone special, and it's possible to order online and print out photos if the gift isn't in your hand in time. Consider an Apple iPhone for someone who needs to stay connected, an iPod for someone on the go or interested in music, an Amazon Kindle Reader for the book lover or, for those on a tighter budget, a USB thumb drive keychain for transporting photos or important documents easily. These gifts don't scream, "I thought of you," but they will generate excitement.

Don't drop the ball with a disappointing last-minute birthday gift--there's still a chance for redemption with some of these choices, whether you make the present yourself or order it online.

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