With just four days left until Christmas, you are officially down to the wire if you haven’t yet finished your gift shopping. And while you’re probably already beating yourself up for procrastinating, you can take solace in the fact that you’re not alone. “According to the National Retail Federation, nearly 40% of holiday sales occur 10 days before Christmas,” says money-saving and consumer shopping expert Andrea Woroch. “What’s more, 90% of shoppers still had nearly half of their holiday shopping to finish as of Dec. 15.”
The not-so-great news about that little statistic is that, in the coming days, the shopping malls and retail stores are going to be packed with all those people picking up last-minute gifts. But, adds Woroch, there is plenty of great shopping along the road less traveled. Here are her top suggestions for finding great gifts at totally unexpected places.
1. Gym or Fitness Club
If you’re heading to the gym to work off all the holiday chocolate you’ve indulged in, it’s the perfect time to search for a gift for anyone in your life who is into health and fitness. For example, fitness studios like Pure Barre sell exercise leggings, tanks and tees, hats and at-home exercise DVDs. You can also grab a gift card at other popular studios like CorePower Yoga, or you can snag trendy apparel and accessories from studios like SoulCycle.
In addition to prescription refills, drugstores can offer one-stop shopping for all your holiday needs. You can pick up activity kits featuring Frozen or Star Wars themes for your kids, a personalized photo book for your mom and designer fragrance for your sister at CVS/Pharmacy. For additional savings, sign up for your drugstore’s rewards program and look for grocery coupons from sites like CouponSherpa.com, which currently features $1 off Mars holiday candies and $4 off Coty’s Fragrance available from Walgreens.
3. Grocery Store
Most chain grocery stores feature displays of gift cards from retailers, restaurants and entertainment venues, making it easy to gift one or more people on your list with the most-requested present of the season. A gift basket featuring gourmet cheeses, cured meats, crackers and a bottle of wine make for a thoughtful hostess gift, while candies and toys in the seasonal aisle will round out your kids’ holiday stockings.
4. Coffee Shop
On your way to work, grab a cup of joe and shop at the same time! Coffee shops like Starbucks sell great gifts from premium Christmas blend coffee beans to festive ceramic coffee cups and mugs. A bag of gourmet beans and a gift card will make the caffeine aficionados on your list very happy, while a festive cup and cocoa mix will no doubt bring smiles to the faces of young nieces and nephews!
5. Auto Repair Shop
Get your car checked before driving home for the holiday and find a practical present for that person who is hard to gift! For example, consumers who purchase a pair of Rain-X Latitude Wiper Blades at any participating Napa AutoCare Centers location now through Dec. 31 have the option to receive a $10 Visa Gift card back by mail, or donate their $10 rebate to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
6. Gas Station
Think you can’t find quality gifts while filling up your gas tank? Think again. Convenience stores sell an assortment of items that make for great holiday gifts. For example, 7-11 stores sell new and used DVDs for the movie buff in your life. You can also find great stocking stuffers like lottery tickets, gift cards and gourmet candies. Some convenience stores offer locally-branded items like tee shirts, hats and coffee mugs, perfect for travelers who want to share their home-state pride with family and friends.