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The best last-minute gifts (and how to get them by Christmas)

In-store pickup can be a lifesaver

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Screenshot: Nintendo
Two hands play Link’s Awakening on a Switch Lite with a fireplace in the background

So, you put off holiday shopping until the last minute, and now there are only a few days left to find gifts for the remaining friends and family on your list. Now you’re staring down the barrel of a crowded mall in order to pick up presents in time for Christmas festivities.

Don’t give up yet! There’s still time to shop for gifts and avoid the mobs of fellow procrastinators. Here are our best bets on last-minute gifts, plus tips for getting them under your tree before Dec. 25:

Last minute gifts

Video game consoles are always a top holiday gift; since there are no new consoles on the market, you can actually find some at a discount. All Xbox One X bundles are $150 off through Christmas Day, and Xbox One S bundles are down to $199 each. Sony’s “Only on PlayStation” Black Friday bundle is back through the holidays — and it’s $50 cheaper than it was on Black Friday. (Check out our best games of 2019 list for suggestions on great games to gift this year as well.)

When all else fails, digital games, books, comics, movies, or streaming service subscriptions are a lifesaver. (Disney Plus even offers a digital gift subscription on its website.) Sure, unwrapping a physical video game, book or DVD is more fun, but you can always put a printout of the cover art in a garment box and wrap that up. If you’re feeling creative, you can even make a card with the download code written on the inside.

If you’re feeling stumped, we’ve rounded up plenty of suggestions for last-minute video game accessories, family-friendly board games, digital gifts, and stocking stuffers.

Free shipping, even without Prime

One of the perks of Amazon Prime membership is the free two-day shipping, which really comes in handy during holiday crunchtime. Amazon also offers the option to upgrade to one-day or same-day delivery on lots of products, so you could conceivably do some last-minute shopping as late as Christmas Eve.

Non-Prime members aren’t out of luck, though. Walmart, Target and Best Buy are all offering free express shipping on most orders, no membership required. (You could also just sign up for Amazon Prime’s free 30-day trial and cancel before it bills you in January.)

Avoid the lines with in-store pickup

If you’re really down to the wire, though, you’re not out of luck. Many retailers now offer free in-store pickup when you order online, often within a few hours. You still have to schlep to a store, but this way you can pick out what you want online and avoid wandering around Best Buy until something catches your eye.

Stores offering free in-store pickup this year include Best Buy, Walmart and Target. Target will even load up your car for you if you order in the Target app.