The Very Best Last-Minute Gifts You Can Buy at the Grocery Store, According to Kitchn Staffers

published Dec 23, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

There is a special place in holiday hell for that feeling when someone unexpectedly gives you a (socially distanced) gift … and you left them off your list. There’s no time left to order anything. And you certainly shouldn’t be making any special (read: unnecessary) trips out to the malls. We have an idea, though: Why not pick up something nice while you’re at the grocery store, shopping for your holiday breakfast or mini-feast?

Kitchn staffers are experts at grocery shopping and we’ve picked out some gifts that won’t look like afterthoughts at all. Let’s start with the obvious, shall we?

Credit: Josh Cellars

1. Josh Cellars Legacy Red Blend

“Josh Cellars Red Blend is the perfect last-minute holiday gift to pick up at the grocery store (if you’re in a state that sells wine!). It’s classy yet not too fussy and you can pretty much always find it anywhere that sells wine. Plus, who doesn’t like wine?” — Jesse Szewczyk, Studio Food Editor

BuyJosh Cellars Red Blend, prices vary depending on location and availability

Credit: Target

2. Indoor S’mores Supplies

“Activity gifts are typically my favorite type to give — concert tickets, cooking classes, etc. This year, I’m getting creative with indoor, at-home activities, like gifting someone indoor s’mores supplies! Just grab a box of graham crackers, Hershey’s bars (or Reese’s, for S’meeses), and a bag of marshmallows. Then, just tie ‘em all up with a bow. ” Grace Elkus, Deputy Food Director

BuyJet-Puffed Jumbo, $2.99 for 24 ounces at Target

Credit: Courtesy of Bonne Maman

3. Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves

“One great gift you can probably find at the grocery store is good-quality jam. Like, top-of-the-shelf jam, not utility jam. Give this to a friend who loves breakfast or cheese. (Hopefully all of them do!)” — Patty Catalano, Contributing Writer

Buy: Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves, $4.49 for 13 ounces at Target

Credit: Instacart

4. Mikawaya Mochi Ice Cream Green Tea

“If someone bought me a gift from the grocery store, I’d want a pack of Mikawaya Mochi Ice Cream Green Tea. Whenever I treat myself to these, I can’t stop at one (or five).” — Sholeen Damarwala, Commerce Editor

Buy: Mikawaya Mochi Ice Cream Green Tea, $6.69 for 12 ounces

Credit: Target

5. Lu Le Pims Milk Chocolate Biscuit Cookie

“For some reason, these chocolate-dipped biscuit cookies feel special to me. And they’re European, so, fancy.” — Nina Elder, Food Director

Buy: Lu Le Pims Milk Chocolate Biscuit Cookie, $3.69 for 15.2 ounces at Target

Credit: Williams Sonoma

6. Good Vanilla Extract

“Pick out a ‘nice’ bottle of vanilla extract if the store has multiple options. I’ve seen Ina Garten’s favorite (Nielsen Massey) at some grocery stores!” — Patty

Credit: Amazon

7. Stumptown Coffee

“I lived in Oregon for a few years and developed quite the Stumptown habit. Luckily I can still get my fix (all the way in Connecticut!) at my closest Whole Foods. A bag of this stuff — or any specialty coffee beans your store carries — will be much appreciated by the gift recipient. Promise!” — Lauren Kodiak, Managing Editor

Buy: Stumptown Coffee, $14.62 for 12 ounces

Credit: Danielle Centoni

8. Justin’s Mini Nut Butter Cups

“Based off of personal preference, these nut butter cups wouldn’t make a half-bad gift! Plus they’re always in the checkout aisle in my Whole Foods so you can grab and go — literally.” — Ariel Knutson, Features Director

Buy: Justin’s Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups, $4.99 for 4.7 ounces at Target

Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

9. Cheese

“Even if your grocery store lacks a super-fancy cheese section, I’m guessing you can still find plenty of gift-worthy wedges. Get a few options and, if you want to go all out, pick up some cured meat, nuts, olives, and other accoutrements. Put everything in a gift bag with tissue paper and you’re done!” Lisa Freedman, Lifestyle Director

Credit: Lauren Masur

10. Greenery

“I love flowers (which you can pick up at the grocery store), but I think greenery is an even better holiday gift. Particularly, this 10-inch centerpiece wreath from Trader Joe’s.” — Caroline Schnapp, Social Media Manager

What’s your go-to grocery store gift?