Last Minute Gift Ideas: How Far Can You Stretch $100?

last minute gift ideas

Yes, this post is about last minute gift ideas. But first… if you’re stressing over the holidays, worrying you waited to long to begin shopping, or feeling any sort of budgetary pressure, I want to start with a REALITY CHECK.

You’ve got time. You don’t need to spend a lot to show you care. In fact, in our overly scheduled world, many loved ones simply want your presence, not presents for Christmas!

How do I know this? Well, last minute shopping — and we’re talking on Christmas Eve — is a bit of a family tradition for us. I actually used to call myself the “Christmas Eve elf.” Each year, when my Dad got done with work, we would head to the mall so I could help him pick out something beautiful for my mom. This didn’t emerge out of laziness or a lack of caring.

My Dad is one of the most considerate people you will ever meet. It was simply a necessity. As a small business owner, who works 10+ hour days and logs way more than 60 hours a week, he just didn’t have an opportunity to shop until Christmas Eve.

Were our last minute gift ideas any less thoughtful than those planned weeks and weeks in advance? My mom certainly didn’t think so. Furthermore, our Christmas Eve escapades wound up being a really fond memory for me. The thrill of the hunt, the hustle of the crowds… It was a great bonding experience with my Dad.

Why am I telling you this? Because I hate the idea of gift-giving causing stress or anxiety. Whether you shop early, late, or give your time/talents to your loved ones as opposed to gifts, that’s great. It’s the thought that counts!

With that said, I teamed up with Greater Lafayette’s Tippecanoe Mall to give last minute shoppers a few ideas. The mall challenged me to see how far we could stretch $100 during the holidays. I had a blast putting together the quick video guide above. It will help you get started. Then, I’ll be breaking down my bargain finds in greater detail with clickable collages below.


How Far Can You Stretch $100 at Tippecanoe Mall?


First stop? H&M

This store is golden because it carries such a wide range of affordable gift options. In fact, it’s a one-stop-shop! You can pick up a Christmas outfit for your kiddo, while scooping up a treat for your best gal pal, grabbing a hostess gift, and shopping for your extremely picky hubby. H&M pieces look elegant and feel luxurious, but won’t leave you with sticker shock.

I focused on gifts for the ladies this go around, but you can definitely find lovely things for children and the men in your life too. Here are a few options you can mix and match to fit your specific gifting needs. To see how I kept my total under $100, be sure to watch the video.


  1. Leopard Scarf – $9.99 – I bought this for my mom, because it is so classic, just like her! It is the perfect weight and has a lovely fringed edge. You can pair it with everything from T-shirts to blazers.
  2. Quilted Bag – $32.99 – Perfect for any fashionista. This makes such a statement and is an ideal size for daily wear – not too big, not too small.
  3. Bow Gloves – $12.99 – If you need to wear gloves, why not make them pretty? I also scooped up a pair of these for my mom. She has really slender fingers, so these were ideal. H&M carries several sizes and the small fit my mom just right.
  4. Bejeweled Sweaters – $29.99 – If your loved ones gravitate toward neutrals, you will swoon over H&M’s sweater collection. The knits are so soft and many have added detailing that inject a special, festive touch.
  5. Cable Knit Hat – $12.99 – When in doubt, a cozy hat will never fail you. It’s functional, but elevated with the cable sweater detailing. Comes in multiple colors in store.
  6. Earrings/Hair Clip Set – $29.99 – Hair clips are such a trend this year. Why not mix a pair of elegant earrings with trendy fun? This is perfect for the teens, college students, and young professionals on your list.

When shopping at H&M, my gifts rang in at less that $56, so I had some room in the budget to add a party outfit too. To give you a few ideas… You could opt for the green dress (photographed above). It is $39.99 and the type of classic silhouette I could see the Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton) rocking.

This sleek black jumpsuit is perfect for New Year’s Eve at just $59.99, or you could try a flirty red number. My ruffled dress rang in at just $29.99 (unfortunately it is no longer in stock – you can find a similar version here).

Next up? Victoria’s Secret…

To be 100 percent honest, this is not a store I typically think of when shopping for Christmas gifts. However, soft/cuddly pajamas are always a great choice at Christmas… and Victoria’s Secret/Pink have some of the best! Also, VS has quite a comprehensive body care line.

Its beautiful boxed sets (fragrances and lotions) are surprisingly affordable, as low as $25. Additionally, scents that are usually quite pricey are available in smaller starter sizes for the holidays. I found much, much more than I expected here!

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