The Gift Guide, The Lists

How to Make a Last-Minute Luxury Holiday Gift Special

Procrastinators of the world, your time is now. You need a luxury Christmas gift that feels special that you can buy at the last minute. The key to it all is one simple word: personal. Not necessarily personalized – personal. For next year, you can check out our list of customized and bespoke luxury holiday gifts that require up to 16 weeks of lead time to produce. But that’s for another day. Let’s deal with the situation before us right now.

the last-minute holiday gift dilemma

We’re within a few days of the holiday, and you haven’t even started your gift shopping. You know who you are, and we know how you feel. Fear not.

Is there such a thing as a luxury holiday gift that feels special that you can buy at the last minute? Why yes, dear reader, there is.

Some of our far-flung correspondents are in the same boat, and they’ve been researching holiday gifts that can be procured at the last minute that will actually appear to have taken weeks of preparation and planning. Done properly, a luxurious gift that you buy within a day or two of the holiday can appear to be something that you’ve been working on for months.

last-minute gifts that feel truly special

Here are 11 sources for last-minute gifts that will feel truly special. Just don’t tell anyone on our list, ‘cause we might be using some of these ourselves.

1. Verdura

A Verdura Initial Pendant necklace in the first or last initial of the gift recipient – or both – makes for a lovely gift that requires no pre-planning. The pendant is crafted from diamonds, platinum and gold, and is strung on an 18” gold chain. Double letter combinations are possible, but perhaps not with the same turnaround time. Pendant – $18,500. Pendant chain – $1,425.


In a similar vein – but at a more accessible price point and with a more modern sensibility – CÉLINE’s Alphabet Collection is a series of necklaces with brass pendants in the shape of over-sized letters of the alphabet. $360.


FENDI’s adorable furry bag charms make the perfect gift for the bag lover in your life. The original alphabet series – the ABC Charm — is still available (at a reduced price) – these are brightly-colored fur balls with one letter of the alphabet featured in a contrasting color – $360. The newer version is the ABC Click; they’re made of gold and brightly-colored fur trim, and they add the perfect touch to a smaller, more refined bag (like the Kan I) – $370.

4. T. Anthony

T. Anthony leather notebooks and other small leather goods come with complimentary personalization. Depending on the item, there is room for 3-26 characters. Turnaround time from when the order is placed is 1-2 business days. Leather notebook – $195.

5. Tiffany’s

Tiffany’s has 227 different gifts that can be personalized, including silver, leather and tabletop items. Some can hold 3 initials, and others can take a full name or a memorable phrase of your choosing. Turnaround time is 48 hours.

6. Le Labo

Le Labo fragrances are packaged with individually personalized labels and gift boxes stating the date the fragrance was formulated, and for whom. There are 15 different scents from which to choose, and your personalization can be as long as 23 characters. 3.4 ounce bottle – $265.

7. Burberry

Burberry has a very wide range of products that can be personalized for your gift recipient, including scarves, ponchos, bandannas, backpacks and fragrances. In most cases there’s room for three initials or special characters, and monogramming is complimentary. Delivery occurs within 3-5 business days of placing your order. Prices vary.

8. l’Officine Universelle Buly

l’Officine Universelle Buly offers fragrances, hand-milled soaps and other special personal care and beauty items made in France. For each purchase, an in-house calligrapher will personalize the box with the name of the recipient. The soaps can be stamped on either side with a pair of initials – the effect resembles a wax seal. These old-world touches will make it feel as if you personally went to Paris to pick up a special gift. Fragrance – $150 for a 75 ml bottle; soaps – $25 per bar.

9. Smythson

Smythson makes truly exquisite personalized stationary. The turnaround time is far too long for a last-minute gift, but you’re in luck. You can let your gift recipient know that you’ve arranged for them to order their stationary to their liking, since it’s such a personal style statement. Win-win – you’re a gift hero, and they have something bespoke that will always remind them of you. Smythson is also a wonderful resource for other gifts that can be personalized – from small leather goods to luggage to jewelry boxes, gold stamping is offered at $12 per letter and $18 per motif.

10. Goyard

Goyard bags and small leather items are the epitome of chic, and the house will personalize them; monograms are hand-painted with exclusive paints made with strictly natural pigments, and they come in a wide variety of designs and fonts in  a wide range of shades. Our advice? Buy the bag now, and then have your gift recipient choose the font, design and color of the monogram after the holiday. It is totally fine — and perhaps even preferable — to do it this way. Prices vary.

11. Double Cross Vodka

Last but not least, Double Cross Vodka comes in a handsome crystal bottle that can be engraved with the name of your gift recipient. Engraving text is limited to 18 characters and two lines. Turnaround time is 24-48 hours plus shipping time.

There you have it – 11 sources for gifts that will make it appear that you’ve been laboring over them for a long time, but that can be sourced with only a week to go before the big day.

other last-minute gift ideas

You can purchase tickets to a great show or sporting event; a gift certificate for a lovely meal at a great restaurant; or plane tickets to a fabulous destination. You can print and frame a wonderful photograph.

There’s still time for a fantastic and memorable gift. It’s in your hands now, people. Don’t delay.

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