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Easy Last Minute Christmas Ideas

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! 

easy last minute christmas ideas dough bowl centerpiece

*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 centerpiece with pomegranates

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:

  • pomegranates
  • red and green Anjou pears
  • red and green apples
  • clove oranges: click {HERE} for easy directions
  • 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.)

last minute christmas ideas easy place setting

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

fresh greenery in white pitcher

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. 

drinks in glasses floating cranberries

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. 

Variations:

  • 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 50.
  • 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. 

cranberry ice cubes on plate

last minute christmas ideas drinks in glasses floating cranberries

Cranberry Christmas Cocktail

This cranberry Christmas cocktail is an easy and refreshing drink for your holiday gatherings. It's low calorie and can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic.
5 from 2 votes
Course: Drink
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Refrigeration Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
  • 2 cups ginger ale diet or regular
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • cranberries and orange slices for garnish

Instructions

  • Mix the cranberry juice cocktail, ginger ale, and orange juice together in a pitcher or container.
  • Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Notes

I used 5 Calorie Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail, diet ginger ale, and Trop50 orange juice. 

Nutrition

Serving: 12oz.
Like this recipe?Follow me at @onsuttonplace

last minute christmas ideas drink in glasses

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. 

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Eggnog Bread with Sugar Rum Glaze
Easy eggnog bread with rum glaze is perfect for holiday gift-giving, parties, and family gatherings. Simple to make and so moist!
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Cranberry Citrus Bread Recipe
Fresh cranberries and two types of citrus give this Cranberry Citrus Bread a fresh and festive taste. Perfect for holiday gift giving!
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Snickerdoodle Bread Recipe
Snickerdoodle Bread Recipe. The perfect homemade baked good for holiday gift giving. Packaging ideas included along with the recipe.
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Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
Make this peanut butter blossom cookie recipe for after-school snacks or dessert. Includes from-scratch method and a semi-homemade version.

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Cake Mix Quick Bread Recipe
A sweet and moist cake mix quick bread recipe that's perfect for family gatherings during the holiday season. Makes a great gift too!
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Starbucks Chocolate Cinnamon Bread | On Sutton Place
Starbucks Chocolate Cinnamon Bread
Make this Starbucks Chocolate Cinnamon Bread right in your own kitchen. It's easy and makes enough to eat and freeze too. It's basically a giant brownie!
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Homemade Olive Oil Granola Recipe
Easy & delicious oven-baked homemade olive oil granola recipe. Oatmeal, nuts & craisins makes this a healthy topping for yogurt or cereal.
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Chocolate Snowball Cookies
Chocolate Snowball Cookies Recipe: easy-to-make, moist chocolate cookies that stay fresh in an air-tight container for days!
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Pecan Tassies
Are traditional Christmas cookies part of your holiday celebration? Make these sweet and delicious pecan tassies as a treat for family and friends!
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christmas ideas bread with gift tag

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. 

bread in cellophane bags with christmas tag

 

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…