Need a Last Minute Gift? Grocery Gift Baskets to the Rescue

If you’re anything like me, the mall is generally the last place you want to be the week before Christmas. Crowded parking lots, long lines and picked-over piles of goods do not make it easy to maintain a decent level of holiday cheer.

So what do you do if you forget to get a gift or two? Go to your local grocery store, of course. You can find everything you need to put together a thoughtful gift basket.

Here are some ideas to get your started:

1. Coffee basket – Gourmet coffee always seemed like a bit of a luxury to me. I never knew you could grind your own coffee beans at the grocery store until I saw it as a bonus item on Super Market Sweep. You’ll want to include some sweeteners and if you want to unleash your inner barista you can add a little flair with chocolate covered cinnamon sticks. Depending on the selection at the store you might even luck out with some great mugs. This is the type of gift that could get put it to use right away – you might even get to taste your gift.

2. Car Kit – This gift basket is great for commuters and road trippers alike. Put together a variety of items that will make their automobile a nicer place to be. You can include items like gum, chap stick, travel tissue packs, a variety of air fresheners, Armor-All cleaning wipes and, if you know what kind of phone they have, a car charger. They’ll thank you every time they put their car into drive.

3. Movie Night – If you’re willing to dig through the DVDs you can come up with some real gems. Pair your favorite films (or most ridiculous movies) with a few packages of popcorn, boxes of concession-style sweets (mini snowcaps, anyone?), and a six-pack of glass-bottle Cokes for a classic movie night. They’ll thank you for this thoughtful gift that doesn’t even require them to silence their cell phones.

4. Kitchen Kit – This is the perfect gift basket for a friend who has recently moved into a new place. There are lots of exciting things to buy when you first get an apartment, but it’s safe to say that a potato peeler isn’t the most exciting item on your shopping list. That’s why it’s nice to receive all the necessities in one shot from someone else. Cherry pick the best utensils and baking items – and if they’re still in their 20’s, don’t forget the solo cups. Gifting so many practical presents in one shot, it’s likely that the recipient will think of you every day.

5. Italian basket – Take your inspiration from the Italian culture – every meal is an event. Start with some antipasto essentials like roasted red peppers, olives, cheese and cured meats. Add pasta and gourmet-style sauce (even the most devout Italian is pressed for time now and then) and finish with a dessert wine for a dolce finish to the feast. Finally, head over to the kitchen supplies aisle for nicely designed dishtowels and the one utensil every Italian kitchen needs – a wooden spoon.

If you don’t have the time to assemble a gift basket and you need a gift on the fly, you can still grab a gift card at most grocery stores – right color, right size, every time.

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