Easy Last-Minute Gifts


My daughter just called me. She’s smack in the middle of college finals and she’s convinced she knows none of the material for her last two exams. Both are scheduled to start and finish within the next fifteen hours and there’s no way she can learn what she needs to in that short amount of time. I think we all know how she feels cause we’ve all been there at some time or another.

That feeling of being unprepared and completely unready used to hit home annually for me. It’s this time of year when I realize I didn’t mail that check for the paper delivery person (yeah, we still get a paper) or picked up gifts for the countless other very-important-people I rely on daily. Suddenly, I’m thrown into that very same “test panic” because I wasn’t prepared or ready for the holiday to come.  I have come up with a solution that can help you now and for any occasion that tends to sneak up.

I call it my “quick gift” bag and I keep one in my office and one at home for those last minute gifts.

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We believe in supporting local shops and artists, so our gift list is composed of those in the Chicago area. All have websites and can ship to anyone, anywhere! You can order these online for this holiday or throughout the year to have on hand. Make sure you support small businesses in your area that care about you and the environment.

Below is a list of our favorite last-minute gifts I keep close at hand:

Scarves from MAJAMAS



You know us for our bras and pajamas but we make a few go-to accessories that really stand out. This little number can dress up a plain tee shirt and turn any outfit into a finished ensemble.

All of our scarves are created from recycled excess fabrics to aim for zero-waste!

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Soaps from Mojo Spa




This little shop on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago has the most beautiful handmade lotions and soaps that look like edible cupcakes, donuts and cakes. Super delicious smelling and so unique, your recipient will get a sweet gift without the calories.

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Chocolates from K. A. Confections


Katherine Ann Confections makes beautiful chocolates locally in Chicago. They even use wildflower honey to replace corn syrup – good for you and the planet!

A favorite of mine is their “dunking chocolate” that comes in a canister. It’s a great treat to share with carolers stopping by (yes, my very fun neighbor still has a caroling party every year) and for gifting to a friend.

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Tea Gifts from Todd & Holland



These guys box and bundle their robust, loose leaf, teas in beautiful canisters, boxes and mugs making each tea feel like a party all on it’s own.  Support companies that don’t pump chemicals into their products!

You can also pick up a tea towel or two along with decorative mugs – one can never have enough!

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Seeds from Burpee & A Planter


There’s nothing like summer flowers to make someone happy in the dead of winter, so give them a packet of Burpee Seeds with a small, terracotta planter to put them in. (Home Depot sells little terracotta pots all year long). They can set these on their window sill and see them grow knowing each day they’re getting closer to spring.

For those giftees without a green thumb, grab a succulent from your local plant nursery. They last a long time without much attention and add just the right pop to any home decor style.

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If you’re feeling crafty, head over to our Pinterest pages: MAJAMAS for Mamas and MAJAMAS ESSENTIALS for a tutorial on how to make these covered pots out of recycled fabrics along with other eco-friendly gift ideas. Each gift is unique enough to feel special and useful enough so they don’t end up in a landfill.

Go ahead. Fill up your gift bag and don’t get caught empty handed this year. Each of these will up your giving game and having them on hand will definitely help you feel less panicky when the holidays roll around. Happy Giving!

– Germaine Caprio, Company Owner & Designer

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