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Last-minute gift guide: Convenience store Christmas shopping

Amanda T. Lago
Last-minute gift guide: Convenience store Christmas shopping
We trawled the shelves of Ministop, 7-Eleven, and FamilyMart to find the perfect clutch time stocking stuffers

MANILA, Philippines – So it happened again this year – for one reason or another, it’s only a few days to Christmas now, and you still don’t have gifts for your friends and family. 

At this point, most people might be resigned to showing up to Noche Buena dinner empty-handed. Others might be looking through their Christmas party haul to see what may be re-gifted.

The more determined might be stuffing bills in envelopes and hoping that a cash present will do the trick (and really who wouldn’t appreciate something as useful as money?).

But if you still want to give your love ones something that feels personal and well-thought out, it isn’t too late, and you don’t even have to endure the last-minute Christmas crowd at the malls to do it. All you need to do is head to your nearest convenience store.

Yes, those shops you often head to for emergency toiletries, midday snacks, and petsa de peligro-friendly meals are actually magical gift repositories that carry a variety of products so wide you can check off everyone on your Christmas list.

Also, they can be found pretty much everywhere, and are practically open 24/7 – so you can go at any time, whether it’s at 3 in the morning so you’re sure to avoid a crowd, or even a couple of hours before you head to your Christmas gathering.

Here are some convenience store finds, sorted out by store, that we think will make pretty awesome gifts:

MINISTOP

This brand may not have as interesting a selection as others – but they are one of the most common convenience stores around, so you will most likely be in the vicinity of one, no matter where you are. It’s also a great store to check out if you’ve got a limited budget – there are a lot of affordable finds here. Some branches also have gift bags on hand for bigger presents.

My Choice Vanilla Bean multipurpose sanitizer (P50)

Photo by Amanda Lago/Rappler

Ministop’s own brand My Choice apparently offers personal care products, such as this dessert-scented spray that will make the perfect present for the germophobe in your life.

My Choice Sweet Escape massage oil (P69)

Photo by Amanda Lago/Rappler

Give this to someone who you feel could use a DIY spa treatment at any given time.

Cadbury Dairy Milk Lickables (P66)

Photo by Amanda Lago/Rappler

A toy and a candy all in one, this treat might put you in the lead to be your inaanak’s favorite (just as long as their other godparents didn’t give them a bike, a puppy, or any other cool toys).

Pepero (Original P55/ Choco cookie P59)

Photo by Amanda Lago/Rappler

Who doesn’t love Pepero? Also, the Christmas-edition packaging is especially festive, and will save you the effort of having to wrap the gift – truly a last-minute Christmas treat.

Jinro Chamisul Soju (P120)

Photo by Amanda Lago/Rappler

Hallyu fan? Alcohol fan? Either way, they will appreciate a bottle or two of this famous Korean liquor. You could even throw in a bottle of Yakult as a suggested mixer.

7-ELEVEN

Another ubiquitous chain, 7-Eleven has a lot to offer in the way of variety. Aside from the usual food and beverages, this store has a lot of unexpected finds, and also, a section that includes giftwrap, bags, and cards!

Add to that the fact that there are so many of them everywhere (when we were doing research for this story, we ran into a total of 3 7-Elevens ON THE SAME BLOCK), and you’ve got a store that is practically unbeatable for being a last-minute Christmas shopping mecca.

Ever Bilena Matte Lipstick (P180)

Photo by Amanda Lago/Rappler

If you have a friend who’s even remotely into makeup, you can’t go wrong with getting them lipstick, and Ever Bilena’s matte bullets are actually decent. Plus, with cosmetics, it’s less obvious that you got your gifts at a convenience store at the last minute.

Omni Dual Portable extension cord (P198)

Photo by Amanda Lago/Rappler

Know someone who’s always working from coffeeshops, restaurants, or other public places? This might be the work tool they never knew they needed.

Manille Liqueur de Calamansi (P550)

Photo by Amanda Lago/Rappler

Another gift for the alcohol enthusiasts, or the balikbayan relative you want to give something distinctly Pinoy to. It’s premium look and quality will never let on that you bought it just before you arrived to the party.

Cafe de Lucca wafers (P36)

Photo by Amanda Lago/Rappler

Know a sweet tooth, an officemate who loves to snack, or someone who enjoys their coffee with a bit of a treat? This (super affordable) box of wafers will be well-appreciated. Plus points for the pretty packaging – all you need to do is add a card or ribbon, and you’re set!

Cliqq gift cards (P1000 and P500)

Photo by Amanda Lago/Rappler

Sure, this one makes it a bit obvious that you bought it at a convenience store, but it is perhaps one of the most useful things anyone can receive. After all, who doesn’t wind up at 7-Eleven at one point or another?

FAMILYMART

While not as easy to find as the other shops on this list, FamilyMart wins hands down in the You’ll-Never-Be-Able-To-Tell-They’re-From-A-Convenience-Store department. From gadgets, to liquor, to food items, and everything in-between, you’ll find a lot of surprising giftables here.

Also, their baked goods are a cult fave, and are sure to be a hit at the Noche Buena table. Just like 7-11, FamilyMart also has a selection wrapping paper and gift bags (they even have really nice-looking wine bags), making it a one-stop shop for all your holiday gift-giving needs.

MyConcept earphones (P250)

Photo by Amanda Lago/Rappler

It’s always a good idea to have a spare pair of earphones, and this particular pair even has a built-in microphone and remote.

LDNIO USB car charger (P299.75)

Photo by Amanda Lago/Rappler

A car charger is one of those things you always look for in the moment you need it, but forget to buy whenever you’re shopping. Save a friend from the trouble and get them this very useful stocking stuffer.

Maybelline Baby Lips Electro Pop lip balm (P99)

Photo by Amanda Lago/Rappler

Maybelline is one of the best drugstore makeup brands out there, and there’s an entire mini-counter of it at Familymart! In terms of gifts, you can never go wrong with lip balm.

Archie Comics (P40)

Photo by Amanda Lago/Rappler

No one ever says “I want to buy Archie Comics” and then heads to FamilyMart for it – but lo and behold, there’s an entire shelf at FamilyMart dedicated to the Riverdale gang. These make for great nostalgia-inducing gifts for friends, siblings, or cousins, and they’re surprisingly cheap too!

Assorted cookies (P230 for a box of 6)

Photo by Amanda Lago/Rappler

FamilyMart cookies are Break-Your-Diet good, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wouldn’t love getting a box of them under the tree.

Meiji Black chocolate (P68)

Photo by Amanda Lago/Rappler

Introduce your loved one to their new favorite candy bar this Christmas with this underrated gem. – Rappler.com

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Amanda T. Lago

After avoiding long-term jobs in favor of travelling the world, Amanda finally learned to commit when she joined Rappler in July 2017. As a lifestyle and entertainment reporter, she writes about music, culture, and the occasional showbiz drama. She also hosts Rappler Live Jam, where she sometimes tries her best not to fan-girl on camera.