Nothing Like a Few Last Minute Ideas

December 23, 2012

If you’re like me – a last minute kind of person – you’re probably feeling the crush, jussssttt a little bit. I swear, every year I promise myself I’ll have my act together and be done shopping, decorating, and wrapping BEFORE Christmas Weekend – But it almost never happens.

This year I have made several trips into the heated crowds of the malls, the shopping areas, and large retailers like Best Buy, Toys R Us, and Target.  It’s a ZOO out there! It’s not only challenging to get through the isles with a cart-in-tow, it’s nearly impossible to find the END of the check-out line!!

I’ve got a few random people left to purchase for, including a gift for a ‘gift exchange’ where I’m not sure who the recipient is… so I’m going to leave the last minute stuff to gift cards. If I haven’t thought of a gift yet for that special someone, chances are – I’m not going to find it on a half-empty shelf in the scurry of the Holidays.

Darden Gift Card

I love getting gift cards and options for families to have date-nights. I know how few and far between they can be for us, and to help offset the costs of hiring a babysitter, it’s nice to have a gift card to enjoy a great meal together. I love the Darden group of restaurants gift cards – so I have the option of where I want to eat – depending on what mood I’m in: Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and the LongHorn Steakhouse.  Plus – it covers all the bases: Pasta, Seafood, and Steak (plus so much more!).

I also love that so many places this year are offering a ‘bonus’ gift card when you purchase a gift card as a gift for someone – so it’s something extra for yourself to enjoy! For a limited time, you will receive an extra $5 bonus coupon for every $25 gift card purchased at Olive Garden, Red Lobster, or LongHorn Steakhouse Restaurants.

My husband and I have gotten back into the habit of going on regular date nights, ever since my sister in law and her 11 year old son (temporarily) moved in with us a few months ago.  It’s nice to have a babysitter on-hand to just run out and go to Target together without the kids.

These impromptu dates mixed in with a regular date night have definitely re-kindled the communication and love for one another. It’s amazing the difference that it has made with us, to be able to sit and have a great conversation with each other over the dinner table without worrying about the kids flinging food at each other.Olive Garden Exterior

So instead of braving the lines: Give it up – and just go to the nearest Darden Restaurant – and purchase a gift card and call it “Done!”!

Are you braving the crowds this weekend??

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Darden. I received a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.


  1. I think we all been in a crunch for time for Christmas . Me as I was in the hospital so Im behind this last week for shopping. But atleast I got for the grandkids gifts. Their what matters most. Im always in for hearing a few last minute ideas from anyone, they always are a help to me in case I dont think of them. Thanks

  2. Sandy VanHoey says:

    Such a great idea and it is really so nice for parents to have time together without the kids. I think it strengthens your relationship.

  3. Gina Brickell says:

    Gift cards are always a good bet with just about anyone. Everyone likes to go out to dinner once in a while, and what a great gift to allow them to go to their place of choosing and have it paid for already!!!
    I always try to get my shopping done early, but you’re absolutely right.. It IS a zoo out there right about now! Good luck finding a parking space!

  4. Alicia Keen says:

    gift cards are always great. i love receiving them!

  5. I rely on gift cards when Im out of time and ideas.

  6. Jennifer Hedden says:

    Gift cards are great for last minute gifts. If you wait until the last minute to shop it is crazy plus there isn’t much left to choose from. The Darden group of restaurants are all great choices. Thank you for the great post!

  7. Finished my shopping a week ago. Went to the grocery store today – what a zoo!
    Just one more thing to wrap.

  8. Alicia Keen says:

    gave my mom one of these today!

  9. Some people think that gift cards are an “impersonal” gift-I disagree. I think it shows you have taken the time to show what that other person’s interests are.

  10. Tami Vollenweider says:

    I always buy my Son a couple of gift cards for restaurants,because he lives away and it’s nice for someone else to do the cooking

  11. I love receiving and giving gift cards – it lets you decide how to spend the present and you can get somoething you really want

  12. One thing I can make up at the last minute is bath salts. I have assorted jars to put them in and they please most people.

  13. I agree, gift cards are great last minute gifts. Like you said, alot of places are offering a second gift card if you spend a certain amount, so you could keep one for yourself 🙂

  14. Jennifer Jordan says:

    I think gift cards are a great last minute gifts. I like it that many stores are selling multiple types of gift cards at one location. You don’t have to run around all over the place buying multiple gifts, you can just go to one place.

  15. vickie couturier says:

    I braved the crowds but I went early enought so their wasnt to much of a crowd

  16. I dont much like the crowds I prefer online shopping!!

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