In this post: Easy last minute Christmas ideas that you can do by using things you already have on hand…or things you can get at any grocery store!
*This post was originally published in 2018. It’s been updated with more ideas and inspiration!
I’m hoping this finds you in good shape for the upcoming holiday, but just in case you need a bit of last minute inspiration, I’ve got you covered. All of the last minute Christmas ideas I’m sharing below can be accomplished with things you already have on hand, or things that can be easily picked up at the grocery store.
*Affiliate links included. Click HERE for my disclosure statement.
Last Minute Christmas Ideas: Centerpieces & A Place Setting
The easiest centerpiece ever is simply to layer fresh pine in a bowl, and add something festive. Use any bowl or tray you have on hand. If you don’t have any pine you can clip from your yard, pick some up at the grocery. Most pine will last at least a few days indoors, so there is no need to use any water. Some suggestions for the festive part:
- red and green Anjou pears
- red and green apples
- clove oranges
- Christmas ball ornaments
- pine cones
The best thing about a low centerpiece is that your guests will be able to see each other across the table! (Click HERE for the long dough bowl.)
If you want to dress up your place settings, all you need is twine and fresh greenery. Simply lay the greenery on your napkin and finish with a piece of twine tied in a bow. It’s optional to string on a tiny ornament, but it only takes an extra few seconds. If you are serving a buffet, wrap each flatware set with a napkin, tie it all together with a piece of twine, and tuck in a small piece of greenery. Put the flatware sets in a basket or on a tray at the front of your buffet line.
Related: DIY No Sew Linen Napkins
One more easy centerpiece idea is to put fresh greens in a pitcher or vase that’s been filled with water. Something like this would be perfect for the beginning or end of a buffet line, or if your table is small. Make sure to give the pine pieces a fresh snip on the ends before placing them in the vessel.
Cranberry Christmas Non-Alcoholic Cocktail
Need an easy, but oh so refreshing non-alcoholic drink idea? Mix equal parts of cranberry juice, ginger ale, and orange juice. You can make as much or as little as you want. Float some fresh cranberries in the glasses and if you have an extra orange, slice it to use as a garnish. Want an alcoholic drink? Just add a shot of vodka or gin to each glass.
Did you know you can freeze cranberries?
You can! Cranberries freeze very well, but make sure to wrap them properly. Simply place an unopened bag of fresh cranberries in a resealable freezer bag, and place it in the freezer. Make sure to mark the date. The cranberries will retain their taste and texture for up to six months.
- You can use any kind of cranberry juice you want…the real thing or the cocktail version. I used Diet Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Drink.
- Tonic can be substituted for the ginger ale. To save even more calories, I used diet ginger ale.
- Fresh orange juice is amazing, but feel free to use whatever is easiest. I used Tropicana Trop50.
- If you have time, make flavored ice cubes. Flavored ice cubes are a great way to keep your drinks from becoming watered down by regular ice. Add one or two cranberries to each vessel of an ice cube tray. Pour in cranberry juice or ginger ale, and freeze until solid.
- To serve this drink when cranberries are out of season, substitute cherry juice and use fresh cherries for garnish.
Cranberry Christmas Cocktail
- 2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
- 2 cups ginger ale diet or regular
- 2 cups orange juice
- cranberries and orange slices for garnish
- Mix the cranberry juice cocktail, ginger ale, and orange juice together in a pitcher or container.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
Last Minute Christmas Ideas: Gifts from the Kitchen
Last minute gifts can be tricky. You don’t want the recipient to think they are an afterthought! When I need a gift at the last minute, I usually head to the kitchen. Here are some ideas of baked goods you can make now, and keep in your freezer for that last minute emergency.
Tip: Pick up some cellophane bags, twine, and ribbon so your packaging is ready to go as well.
No gift from the kitchen would be complete without a custom tag. For my email subscribers, the tags pictured below can be downloaded from the Members Only Library. If you aren’t a subscriber, but would like these tags, just fill out the form at the end of this post, and I’ll send them right away. In addition to instant access to the library, you will receive new blog posts, special offers, and other tidbits I provide just for the readers on my list.
I hope these last minute Christmas ideas have inspired you to keep things simple, yet festive and welcoming for your family and friends. Christmas really isn’t about the stuff…it’s about the people. By going the less complicated route, you are not only giving yourself the gift of time, you are giving it to your family as well. See you soon…