Last Minute Gift Ideas Everyone will Love

By: Kathie Zipp, Engage! Cleveland Leadership Council At Engage! Cleveland, we do our best to be knowledgeable in all things young professional (YP). As a fellow YP with a busy schedule in and outside of the office, I understand the holiday shopping conundrum all too well. I also understand that holiday presents can add up to big bucks—but they don’t have to. Here are some gift ideas that will bring smiles without breaking the bank! You’ll also be supporting some of our local CLE businesses, so what’s not to love?

Portside Distillery For the guy who’s hard to shop for:

Cleveland’s brewery business is exploding! We learned this during Cleveland Young Professionals Week in June when we hosted four local breweries for a discussion and tasting (side note - mark your calendar to participate next year June 24-30). Take advantage of the copious craft brews by giving a growler to the guy (or girl!) who you know will appreciate it. Breweries from the Goldhorn in Midtown, to the Market Garden in Ohio City (which also now has a store and tours), to Butcher & The Brewer on E. 4th St., to Brick and Barrel in the flats, and many more in between, offer growlers of beers that may not be distributed elsewhere. Such a special gift will only run you $10 to $20 most places.

If the dude you’re buying for doesn’t drink, perhaps they’d like a snack from Peterson’s Nuts on Carnegie? They have a variety of gift baskets and individual items available at all price levels. I picked up a cute burlap sack of peanuts for my pop.


For the girl who’s hard to shop for:


Most ladies won’t object to a trip to the spa, but services can be pricy. No fear, Groupon is here! You’ll find lots of local spas offering pedicures, massages and more at discounted rates. Groupon had gained enough traction to not be considered tacky. I’ve done it plenty of times and it’s always well received. People don’t care what you paid, they’re too excited to plan their trip to the spa! I usually sharpie out the price anyway, then wrap it in a cute, festive envelope.

If she’s not into the spa, perhaps wine? Again, Groupon has lots of options for bulk wine orders where you pay, say $25 for a $75 voucher that she can use to select the bottles she likes online and have them delivered right to her door! Or, pick up a bottle of something unique from local CLE Urban Winery.

If none of these guy and gal examples seem right for you, my default is always a trip to CLE Clothing Co. From clothing to koozies they truly have something for everyone. And if you bring in a canned food item you get 20%! Did we mention their awesome owners are also YPs?


For your parents:

It can be hard to shop for the ones who gave you the gift of birth. My tip is to touch their hearts rather than focus on filling their hands.

I can guarantee most of you probably know more about technology than your parents. Why not use your savvy skills to digitalize your family memories? As much as you may want that VHS of you running around in your diapers to disappear, these images mean the world to your parents.

There are services to digitalize your VHS tapes, photos and more. You can often find these on Groupon for a discounted price. Or, you can give the gift of time like I did and save cash by doing it yourself. There are tons of video conversion transfer kits on Amazon, or you could have someone help you pick one out at a store like Best Buy. They come at a variety of price levels depending on how fancy you want to get. My parents were thrilled when I handed them a festive box of DVDs on Christmas morning a few years ago. I’m also saving money this year by scanning in our family photo albums the old fashioned way. It takes time, but scanning through our memories with a peppermint mocha on Saturday mornings in my robe has kind of been fun. My sister and I will also be glad to have these albums preserved in the cloud for our own future families. I even pulled aside a few favorite photos from each album so we can relive some of the memories right away in a Christmas morning slide show.


The other thing that means the most to your parents is just spending time with them. So pick up a Mitchell’s gift card and plan to take them for ice cream as you browse shops together in Ohio City. You can also grab tickets to our upcoming event at Mitchell’s featuring a presentation from the owner and a behind the scenes tour. Another option is to get tickets to tour the Christmas Story House. Or, wrap up some Zoo tickets—they’re a dollar off right now and usually good for a certain period of time—so you can visit the warm rainforest together on a cold Saturday afternoon.


For your friends:

I really believe doing a secret Santa with your friends it the way to go. My friends do one every year and it really takes the pressure off while preserving the fun. You can pick names and set a limit of $10 to $20. Or, you can agree to do a make or bake it, or even a beer or wine exchange.


For your in-laws or bf’s/gf’s family:

If you’re going to be seeing your significant other’s family over the holidays you may feel like you should bring something, but knowing how much to spend and what to get can be confusing and awkward.

First of all, I would suggest giving one thing that whole family can enjoy. Gift baskets are great, and if you make your own you can put together something nice without spending a lot.

Start with getting a cheap, but nice looking, basket from the Marc’s closeouts section (my favorite!), the dollar store or use something you already have. You can fill it with something as simple as bakery you made and a nice pot of poinsettias (also cheap at Marc’s). Or, if your sig other’s family lives outside of Cleveland (as my boyfriend’s does in Pittsburgh) you can dazzle them with local items like a nice bottle of Breitenbach wine and a six-pack of Great Lakes Christmas ale. Then, the secret is to jazz it up with colored tissue paper, a bow and maybe even some of that plastic gift basket shrink wrap you use the hair dryer to seal. It will look like you spent a lot more than you did!


For your secret Santa at the office:

If you’re shopping for your office secret Santa or co-worker, the good news is usually you aren’t expected to spend much. Most office exchanges have a dollar limit. This is one place gift cards are totally acceptable. Even if you don’t know your colleague well, maybe you at least know if they drink coffee, or what city they live in. A gift card to a local joint like Phoenix Coffee, or a restaurant nearby their home or the office, will always be appreciated. If you want to get fancy, attach a candy cane or throw it in a bag with a small bottle of booze. If nothing else, again, a gift card to CLE Clothing is a great default.


For those out of the state:

Cavs GameA great company out of the Arcade downtown makes it easier than ever to send Cleveland in a box. Select local items to ship to friends and family across the country. Choose from items like Bertman's Original Ballpark Mustard and Cleveland apparel to customize your box starting at just $30.


Other ideas:

-Making and baking has never been easier with Pinterest! Find something fun and get creative. -Basket of homemade cleaners—super cheap to make (again see Pinterest), great for someone who just got their own place, and you can put cute labels and ribbons on the bottles. -Cavs tickets—These can get pricy, but Engage! Cleveland is hosting an exclusive event on March 14 with tickets starting at just $40. Come hear a Cavs executive speak and watch the Cavs play against the Detroit Pistons.