O.K. So you left things a bit late this year. You could have been busy with work (pretty normal during year end); or sick; or just overwhelmed with life. It is TOTALLY normal.
No Worries WHATSOEVER! I've put together an action plan and a few recommendations that will get you through the gifting season.
Last Minute Christmas Gift Guide
Plan of Action
1. Do not panic. Remember, it is the thought that counts. Most people just give gift cards these days. So you actually making the effort to buy and wrap presents is kinda a big deal these day.
2. Make a list of gifts you want to buy according to:
particular requirements like luxe, vegan, cruelty-free, tech, charitable causes.
3. Make sure you have enough on credit cards (I prefer cards as they also give you bonus points like frequent flyers points)
4. Confirm store opening times - you want to get there roughly 20 mins before store opening (car parking etc). A lot of malls now have extended shopping hours (some even do 36 hours shopping).
5. Head to the nearest Mall which has Sephora, Mecca Stores; Priceline and Target/Kmart (if you are overseas, replace Mecca with Nordstrom/any department store and Ulta). Make Target/Kmart your last stop - this is for gift wrapping supplies (unless you are like me and have a fetish for gift wrapping (hence loads of supplies at home).
6. Map out where you want to go first. Then stick to that map.
7. Time yourself - I would say depending on crowds 3-4 hours is more than sufficient.
8. Get home and then rest for a bit.
9. Start wrapping!
10. If all else fails - you do have the option of purchasing online gift cards (not my preference).
SO IN THIS GUIDE, I'VE SET IT OUT BY LUXE GIFTS, CRUELTY-FREE/VEGAN, BUDGET FRIENDLY AND TECH. AS MOST MEN NOW ALSO APPRECIATE BEAUTY GIFTS, I'M SURE SOME OF THESE WILL APPEAL TO THEM AS WELL. IF NOT THE TECH GIFTS ARE YOUR BEST BET.
For each gift idea, I've included where you can purchase it.
Luxe Gift Inspo
Sephora always has these "Sephora Favourites" kits which are the perfect way for one to try out different products. They are pretty affordable too.
I love Givenchy's makeup. In fact, I collect them. The holiday collection is just screams luxe. These are exclusive to Sephora in Australia. If anything, get the eyeshadow palette "Red Line Edition Quatuor Face and Eye Palette" (on the right).
Guerlain has this special Christmas set with its iconic bronzer and mascara. A really luxurious gift. (Available in Department Stores and Sephora)
One of my favourite perfume releases for the year is Coach's Floral Bloom. I did a review of it which you can read here (click here). (Available in Department Stores)
No Christmas is "Christmas" without Bobbi Brown. This year's luxe collection comes with a beautiful eyeshadow palette with very wearable shades for everyday as well as shades that are "party-worthy". Also the single luxe eyeshadows are fabulous worn dry or wet. The Lipstick in the middle with the sparkles is called "Ruby Slippers". Perfect for Christmas. (Available in Department Stores)
Can you see the sparkles in the lipstick "Ruby Slippers"? They make your lips look plumper with a subtle shine. It is very wearable and you can't feel the sparkles/glitter at all.
Another brand that screams luxe is Charlotte Tilbury. This year, she released a limited edition version of the "Sculpt and Highlight" palette - I have the original plus the version that comes with a blush highlight. Trust me, this is the best purchase ever, I wear the palette almost every time I apply makeup and the shades are universal.
Another limited edition release is the highlighter "Magic Star". The embossing is gorgeous and the highlighter is a light gold. It is fairly creamy and quite pigmented.
This year, Napolean Perdis has really done an amazing job with its limited edition gift sets. All of them are priced quite reasonably and yet still scream luxe. The collection is called "No Panic".
There are so many sets to choose from. There is even a skin care set that includes a natural jade roller.
My pick of the bunch is the brush set. It is so clever! The packaging incorporates this metal frame and each brush has a magnet in it so that the metal frame works as a brush holder. You get 10 brushes which covers pretty much all you need. (Available in department stores, stand alone Napolean Perdis boutiques and Priceline)
By Terry is another one of my fave luxe brands. This year, there is limited edition compact and also quite a few gift sets of cult By Terry Products. (Exclusive to Mecca)
I always collect NARS Limited Edition collections and this year's holiday release is just as collectible. The collection is called "Studio 54" and is inspired by the disco-era. Get it, simply because NARS is so good in quality and the packaging is gorgeous! (NARS is exclusive to Mecca)
Laura Mercier is another one of those brands that you can count on to wow people with. My pick of the holiday collection are these two palettes. On the left is the "Paint With Light Radiant Face Illuminator Trio", with an exclusive shade in the middle called "Obsession" (pink shade). On the right is the "Paint With Light Golden Face Illuminator Trio". This palette has an exclusive shade called "Sensation" on the right (a slightly red shade). The cover of each palette is also very beautiful. (You can get this at Mecca)
This is the "Metropolis Eyeshadow Palette". It is fairly pricey (RRP205) but so worth it. It is available at Sephora.
Drunk Elephant is a hugely popular skincare brand that is also cruelty-free. The packaging is fun and the formulas work. This year, they came out with two "shelfies" The one on the left is for day time and the one of the right is for your night time regime. (Available at Mecca)
Tatcha's packaging and formula also screams luxe. I can't imagine anyone not loving these sets. (Available at Mecca)
Who wouldn't appreciate a silk eye mask or silk pillow. The beauty benefits are well known and I personally feel that Slip's versions are the best in the market.
They also have silk hair ties (which you see in the Christmas Bauble). Slip is available at both Sephora and Mecca.
I have this kit. It came out last year and is still available. It is quite a good one to get. The shades are warm and wearable and what's good is that it comes with a matching liquid lipstick and lip pencil (I've used the pencil as an eyeliner and that works well too).
This rose gold brush kit is value for money. The bag that it comes in is a soft faux leather. Zoeva brushes are really quite good.
You might be more familiar with Louvelle's shower caps (available at Mecca and Sephora). There is also a bath and body care range. (Available in department stores).
This year, Diptyque's three limited-edition Holiday collection is inspired by fairytales from around the World. They always smell so good and this three piece set is sure to impress. (Available at Mecca)
Another luxurious set from Diptyque is the roller ball set of their more popular fragrances.
This trio of Omorovicza's Queen of Hungary Mist is definitely as a "jaw dropper". When I saw it the shiny shiny look of them really sealed the deal for me. (Available at Mecca)
Fornasetti's candles come in these beautiful ceramic jars with interesting and intriguing illustrations. I have a few and very much prize them amongst my candle collection. (Available at Mecca)
CRUELTY-FREE and/or VEGAN
Ellis Brooklyn's fragrances come with skin care benefits as well. This story set is the perfect way to experience her cruelty-free fragrances. (Available at Mecca)
There are so many cute sets from Too Faced! Just pick any one and they will be sure to please. On the right is the Too Spicy palette (a sister to the Spice palette) and it smells like ginger bread. (Available at Mecca)
If your "giftee" is a fan of the "clean beauty" movement and a makeup lover, this set from Ilia is sure to please. (Available at Mecca)
This year in addition to the Ambient™ Lighting Edit Unlocked (6 pan) - it has finishing powders, blushes, bronzer and metallic strobe powders. 100% vegan, 5% of the profits from this palette will go to support the Nonhuman Rights Project, the only civil rights organization in the United States working to secure legally recognized fundamental rights for nonhuman animals. NOW that's beauty for a good cause.
The Ambient™ Lighting Blush Quad is lovely. It is also 100% vegan. The four hybrid blushes combine the customized lighting effects of Ambient™ Lighting Powder and Strobe Powder.
An extremely effective and "simple" natural product is Jojoba Oil. I particularly like the brand "The Jojoba Co". They has so many pretty gift sets this year! (Available in department stores and Priceline)
A fairly affordable gift pack from Essano. I like it because it has everything you need and the sizes are perfect for travel. (Available at Priceline)
Popular clean beauty skincare brand A'Kin has also come out with quite a few gift sets. This is my fave - the coconut water one, The Mist Toner is delightful.
Tarte's Christmas collection is always for "keeps". To see the full collection, click here.
Tarte's one of those brands that I absolutely trust and love so anything from Tarte is a gift from me with much love. (Available from Sephora)
How amazing is this set! Not only is the formula "clean", the lipsticks actually are long wearing and the packaging with the beautiful illustrations is divine. (Available from Priceline)
Cult Aussie brand Lanolips is sure to please. The formula is very effective for dry skin. They have also come out with quite a variety of gift sets. (Available from Mecca)
Becca and Kat Von D are two of the most popular brands at Sephora. Pick up something from their Holiday collections for makeup lovers.
RMS is a very intriguing brand. A luxe "clean beauty" brand, the formula contains coconut water. (Available from Mecca)
How cute are these sets from Urban Decay! My fave is the "Sweet Little Vices" lipstick set. The packaging alone makes it lust-worthy. (Available from Mecca)
One of my fave brands Antipodes Skincare also has a variety of sets available. (Available from Priceline, Chemist Warehouse)
Votary is one of those cool UK clean beauty brand. They have come out with a lip oil. (Available from Sephora)
You might think it strange to gift toothpaste, but if it's by LoveByT, I think the "Giftee" is going to love it!
Heartwood is a pretty cool natural fragrance brand that allows you to make your own fragrances by completing a few steps online. Get a gift voucher for this one for those fragrance aficionados. (https://heartwoodco.com.au/)
This year's O.P.I. Christmas offering is a collab with Hello Kitty. Super adorbs (available at department stores).
The Body Shop's Holiday sets are legendary. There are just so many to choose from. I attended a press event and learnt that the collection is focused around women empowerment and features "Mrs Claus"! Also every purchase will go towards empowering young girls in Indonesia and Brazil. How? The Body Shop has partnered with Plan International UK to help 1,500 young girls dream big by providing key education and skills training, opening more doors to opportunity.
The Body Shop's Advent Calendar is one that I always must have each year. On opening each box, I was delighted to see that each one has a little write-up about famous women and why they are famous. A really good gift for girls to remind them that "yes, they can achieve anything!".
Mecca Max (available from Mecca) is a vegan makeup brand that always wows me with the amazing quality and and affordable prices. There are quite a few sets to choose from and they are all also perfect not only for teens but adults as well who want a bit of fun (with amazing quality).
Edible Beauty has come out with a "Summer Saviours" kit. It is a good one to get even if you aren't going through Summer like we are in Australia.
Mostly small kits from Sephora here! The only two that are not are the Australis palettes. These palettes are fabulous and are good dupes for Huda Beauty's palettes.
I saw this little night light at Sephora and I thought it was the cutest thing. Should suit both girls and boys.
This Remington Curl & Straight Confidence Hair Straightener (RRP149) is probably one of the coolest new hair tools I've seen. Just by turning your hand to a slightly different angle, you can either straighten or curl your hair.
Rose quartz rollers (or jade rollers) are so popular these days. They also make very pretty gifts. GuShas are also equally popular. The blue set are ice globes which you keep in the fridge and gently roll on your skin to help with de-puffing.
My most used hair styling tools ever. From the luxe Dyson hairdryer and Airwave to the more affordable Hot Tools curler and Dafni Allure.
Dyson Hair - comes in its own leather box. You want luxe and your "giftee" to keep saying "OMG", get the Dysons.
If you have super long hair like I do (my hair has reached mid belly in length), I really recommend the Hot Tools 24K Gold Curlbar. A GHD type styler just doesn't work for my hair length. The 90 degrees angle just makes it so ergonomically easy to curl your hair, also because of its design, the heat is distributed evenly from root to tip. It comes in under RRP80 and I highly recommend it.
The Dafni Allure is one sexy hair styling tool. It smooths out the hair as it gently straightens it. I like the "comb design" as it means you can be lazy and just use this to comb your hair while you straighten it.
If you know your "giftee' is a beauty lover AND a tech geek, get them something like Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light is supercharged with 2 brand new power combo lights for the ultimate bespoke facial. One device, 5 benefits - Repair, Glow, Soothe, Optimize and V-Sculpt.
The new game-changing Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light++ combines the power of NASA-inspired LED Chromotherapy and Low Frequency Stimulation to tackle multiple skin concerns for younger looking, brighter and blemish-free skin.
In addition to the original 3 targeted LED lights (Red, Blue, Yellow), the Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light++ features 2 new power combo lights (Orange & Purple), which deliver twice the benefits in the same amount of time. It is powered by 3 AAA batteries.
FOREO is another cool brand for skincare gadgets with its LUNA 3 and UFOs (LED Light treatments with hot/cold functions). The UFOs also come with a variety of sheet masks that cater for a variety of skin types. Each FOREO product featured here links up to an APP on your phone or tablet and helps tell you how your skin is doing while preparing the treatment. Trust me, it is heaps fun (and they work!).
The Hitachi Hada Crie is legend in the Asian market. Mine is the "HITACHI Hadakurie Hot & Cool CM-N4800-W". This might not be the latest version but it still is pretty cool. It uses a mix of positive and negative ions while pulsating at the same time. Depending on whether you are cleansing or using a sheet mask, the metal plate is warm or you flip it to use the cold side. Yes, it is so high tech, the instructions are in Japanese (of course). It has a function which allows you to clip on a cotton pad which you can add micellar water/toner to, and you will be surprised by how much dirt it picks up. It really does give you a gentle deep cleanse.
For selfie-lovers (well anyone who has spent time and energy on their skincare regime and makeup), the INSTAX is a fun gift to give. There are a few varieties out there and my fave is the Lomo'Instant (cause I love the Lomo camera and I am cool like that - no, just kidding).
Disclaimer: All of the photos with my watermark here are taken by me. You cannot use them without obtaining my written permission first. The rest of the photos were provided by the brands/PR companies. These are my personal views and I do not any way guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any message and will not be held responsible for the content of any message. Most of the products that I took photos of were gifted for my consideration.