We've all been there. It's your friend/significant other/sister's birthday coming up in just a couple of days, and you've been so caught up in your 15 extracurriculars that you simply didn't have time to pick something out on Amazon. Well, now, you're in a bit of a pickle, especially if that special someone goes to school with you and you have no way of hiding this from them. Luckily for you, no matter how little time you have, a little careful thinking and you'll be delivering the perfect, can't-tell-I-came-up-with-this-15-minutes-ago gift to someone you care about.
1. Freshly baked Insomnia Cookies
If you happen to live conveniently near an Insomnia Cookies, which is the case for most UVA students, then you automatically have a perfect last-minute gift option right in your backyard. Everyone loves receiving food, and if you remember their favorite type of cookie, it'll be even more personal. Just make sure your gift recipient doesn't have any food allergies.
2. A collage featuring pictures of the two of you (plus other people, so it's not creepy)
This may take some time to put together, but all you really need is the ability to print out a bunch of pictures, a frame, scissors, and a glue stick. Everyone loves having fun reminders of their friends and family throughout their room, so if your friend is especially in need of a room re-do or intervention, your gift could help jazz up their entire space.
3. A carefully crafted Spotify playlist
One of my favorite gifts to make for close friends and family is a playlist featuring songs that I know they like, songs I think they'd like, or songs that remind me of them. I've done this on iTunes for many years, but it's probably more relevant for friends your age to make a Spotify playlist and invite them to follow it. Just make sure that your playlist is distinct enough that it doesn't closely resemble a generic Spotify-generated playlist like "Discover Weekly" or "Summer Hits."
4. A video featuring you and several of their friends saying how much you love them
I helped make a video like this for a friend in high school, and it was a lot of fun. Our video kind of resembled that one scene in Mean Girls where everyone is giving their testimonials about Regina, but our video was a lot less mean-spirited. With the ease of filming on iPhones and simple video-editing apps and programs, it's super easy to edit a few clips together into a heartfelt present for a close pal.
5. An article of clothing that you bought, haven't worn, and think they'd like
This might be more of a desperate move, considering that you'd literally be handpicking a gift from your existing closet. Still, if there's any clothes in your closet that are brand-new with the tag still on, and you think they might fit your friend, absolutely wrap them up and send them along. As long as you definitely haven't worn the clothing in their company before, you should be safe from any embarrassment.
6. A heartfelt or amusing poem that describes your relationship with that person
There's nothing romantic than poetry, certainly, but writing a funny poem to a close platonic friend could also be a fun present idea if you're pressed for time. If you don't want to be totally original, you could also rewrite the words to a famous poem in a way that represents your friendship, but try not to be too obvious. "The Midnight Ride of [insert friend here]" is probably not creative enough for a birthday poem title.
7. Offer to take them out to a nice meal
If you really don't have time to get or make your friend anything before you're scheduled to see them, at least offer to pay for a nice brunch or dinner on their birthday. That way, you get to have a fun experience with them, and they won't have to empty their wallet to treat themselves to a nice birthday outing.
Buying gifts is fun for some, torturous for others, and an afterthought for many others. It can be hard remembering to go on Amazon far enough in advance to order something, even with Prime, but the good news is that it is possible to help someone have a great birthday without browsing online for hours. Especially as you get older, people tend to value experiences more than things, so simply having a free morning or afternoon to spend with that person is probably enough of a present. But at the very least, if you don't have time to order a nice present, you almost definitely have time to run to CVS and buy them a funny card, so there's no excuse for that.