I am not one of those people. By that I mean the ones who have shopped, wrapped and completed all Christmas shopping before December rolls around. I don’t procrastinate, necessarily, but it’s a busy month! So I’m often out there running around a couple of days before THE big day. And based on the crowds of people I see—some of them just STARTING their gift buying—I am not alone when it comes to last minute shopping.

There are lots of things running through my head in preparation for Christmas, so by the time I get to a store my mind can go blank. This latest post is an idea my husband gave to me: Last minute gifts that you can find at retailers near you. Some of these can be great stocking stuffers or gifts to hand the host throwing a party—some of these items could even be grouped and placed into an aluminum ice bucket with a bunch of bar towels or tissue paper. No wrapping!

So I hope this is helpful for those of us who walk into a store thinking about what to get someone…before reaching for the gift card rack.

[Some national stores that should carry many of the items below: Crate & Barrel, World Market, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Williams-Sonoma and Target.]

For Grillers

Rubs/marinades—make your own…tons of ideas online and on Pinterest and they don’t take a lot of time. Place into a Mason jar or bottle you can get from Michael’s/AC Moore/Container Store/Home Goods. Or find pre-made at a local BBQ joint, gourmet shop, or even places like TJ Maxx and Marshalls. If you or someone you know is creative, come up with a custom label.

Meat injector—Easy way to inject marinades into meat…pretty self-explanatory. Can find these at Walmart, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Target, to name a few.

Rubber gloves—THIN ones come in handy when putting rubs onto raw meat. You can find these at big box stores like WalMart and Target as well as the grocery store. THICK ones are great for shredding hot, cooked meats without burning the hell out of your hands. During the winter it might be harder to find, but specialty stores like Williams-Sonoma or barbecue/grill stores should have them.

Wood chips for smoking (cherry, hickory, etc)—this time of year may be more difficult to find in some local stores, but try Ace Hardware, specialty cooking shops or Southern States.

Fun napkins for parties—Any specialty store will have different themed ones, like Party City, Hallmark or even Marshalls. A garden center near my house has a ton of them. One example I saw recently: “Life Needs More Beer and Barbecue.”

Beer/Bourbon/Whiskey Drinkers

Glassware—I recently found beer glasses that were about 16oz and shaped like footballs. So I bought some. Hey, it’s a conversation piece on Sundays and each glass cost less than $3. But seriously, you can find some really nice glassware that is shaped according to the type of drink. Highball glasses, Pilsner glasses, heavy-bottomed old-fashioned glasses, pint glasses (there are several varieties), hand blown glass, etc. And you can find a ton of barware at so many different stores that don’t have to break the bank (from Target and Crate & Barrel to World Market and Pier One).

Whiskey stones—When these frozen nuggets of soapstone are placed into a beverage, nothing gets watered down. For purists who do not like diluting a good scotch/whiskey/bourbon with water these are perfect. I think I saw these at Total Wine recently. But Target might have them, Williams-Sonoma and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Decanter—Whiskey and bourbon lovers appreciate these. If you really feel like springing for a nice one, crystal is the way to go. Available all over the place, including Crate & Barrel, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, World Market and Macy’s.

(Beer) Bottle openers—It’s a gift, so make it special. A really heavy-duty opener is appreciated. A couple of years ago my mom gave us a huge, flat metal one that I usually hang from an outdoor serving table we have. Makes it easy to find when the sun goes down. Or what about a wall- or bar-mounted one? Again, easy to find at big box stores as well as specialty places.

Fun napkins for parties—Can you tell I like these? A favorite: “Whoever said laughter is the best medicine had clearly never tasted whiskey.”

Coasters—Felt, wood, thick cork, etc. I’ve seen a lot of these at places like Marshall’s and Home Goods. A set of 6 circular wood coasters for less than $10. Or if you have the tools cut your own, sand them, put a few coats of poly or tung oil and wrap with twine. You can’t have too many of these—keep drinks from sweating on your bar….unless you happen to have some cool cocktail napkins {wink}.

Gourmet food—Pretzels (small-batch ones), nuts, specialty sausage and cheese, etc. Again, find these all over.

An upgrade of something they drink—If your father-in-law likes scotch, buy him a nicer single malt he may not get for himself. Or get a variety pack of seasonal beers from different breweries.

A unique koozie—Look for leather or a favorite sports team. Find at Pottery Barn, specialty stores.

Gift certificate—Have a local brewery, distillery or winery nearby? Get a gift certificate for them to try what’s been released recently (then offer to go with them!).

Music Lovers

Earbuds/Headphones—Upgrade their mobile sound reception with better-quality/newer technology headsets and earbuds. There are a lot to choose from, like cordless, sweat- and water-resistant, noise elimination, etc. Retailers like Kohl’s, big-box and department stores often run 40%-off specials this close to Christmas so you can score.

Bluetooth speakers—I received one of these last year. Love it. I charge it, then can plug in my iPad and sit out on the patio for hours listening to music with a rich sound. And once charged they are wireless, so it’s great for tailgating, camping, the beach or lake. They come in a variety of sizes and price points, so it depends on the quality you wish to give and your budget. As noted above, you can get a big discount on electronics like this at department stores and Kohl’s.

Outdoor blanket—I got one of these about 2 years ago and always keep it in the back of my SUV. These blankets have fleece or flannel on one side and a waterproof backing on the other side. They often can fold up neatly, with velcro or some sort of closure and a handle. This is awesome for music festivals, going to wineries, watching sports games and so forth. I think REI and sporting goods stores may carry them year-round. I saw one at Marshalls last week for less than $20. Almost bought it.

Tickets to a concert—Get online and see who’s coming to town or playing in the coming months. It doesn’t have to be a massive world tour kind of show, but if you buy tickets to something they may like you can introduce them to something new. Or give them a ticket and say you are going with them and buying dinner and/or drinks.