Shipping can decide whether or not your gift reaches its recipient in time. As the date is drawing closer, your options get more and more limited and at some point, sending a package is no longer a possibility. Moreover, shipping adds to the ecological footprint of your gift. We have prepared a list of digital presents that work as last minute gifts and have a small ecological footprint on top of that.
The Usual Suspects: Gift Card, Certificate, Voucher
Most online stores offer something to that degree. This includes iTunes for music, movies, and apps (now also via PayPal Digital Gifts), Google Play for apps, XBox Music, XBox Live for gaming, Steam for games, or Amazon for almost anything. A variety of stores also offer gift vouchers via Facebook. If it’s online and selling things, it most probably has a digital gift option.
If you know a little about your friend’s hobbies, the devices they own, or their online shopping habits, you can select a gift card from a matching online store and they will certainly appreciate it. My colleague Angela shared tips and tricks on how to best use the above online stores for gifting.
Be careful when purchasing a gift card for someone abroad or outside the US; not all gift cards work in all countries.
Premium Web Services
Like online stores, other online services offer pro memberships or subscriptions. Many people are somewhat reserved when it comes to investing in such services; it’s a luxury.
What better gift could you make, than to improve your friend’s experience with their favorite web service. Find out which services they frequently use and surprise them with an upgrade. Should they already have a premium subscription, it only means you made a great choice and their expiry date will be extended. Below is a short list of options:
Online Storage & Backup
- Dropbox – Pro membership starts at $9.99 per month for 100GB.
- CrashPlan – Offers unlimited monthly automatic online backup plans for individuals ($5.99) and families ($13.99).
- Spotify – Ad-free commercial music streaming gift cards starting at $10.
- Pandora – Taste-based music streaming for $36 per year.
- Last.fm – Uninterrupted and ad-free independent music streaming on any supported platform for €3 a month.
- Netflix – Unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows for $7.99 per month.
- Hulu Plus – One month of unlimited movie and TV series streaming for $7.99.
- Audible – Gift an audio book per month for three months for $45.
Other Premium Services
- LastPass Premium – Secure passwords stored online and synched across devices for $12 per year.
- Amazon Prime – Extra fast shipping, streaming blockbusters, and borrowing Kindle books for free for one year at $79.
Our list of online subscriptions contains even more ideas and details on the services suggested above.
Individual Digital Gifts
Gift cards and subscriptions can be boring and may seem uncreative. Here are options for those of you seeking for less generic alternatives to a physical gift.
You can gift an iOS app and thus make your present a little more personal. In the App store or on iTunes, navigate to the app you wish to gift, tap the Share icon in the top right, on the next screen tap the Gift icon, then sign in with your Apple ID, type the email address of the recipient, add a custom message, select a date and theme for the gift, and finally tap Buy and confirm your purchase.
If your friend is into music and if you know what they like, you can probably find a great album for them on one of the many places that sell music. Several allow you to give music as a gift.
- Amazon MP3 has a Give album OR song as gift button. Also double-check your friend’s Wish List.
- iTunes has an option to gift albums, which works just like gifting an iOS app, see description above.
- Bandcamp let’s you send songs or albums as a gift. Find free Bandcamp music downloads on Sound Sunday.
Audio & Electronic Books
Finally, everyone loves a good story or learning new things. Some people prefer reading, others have embraced audio books. Find out what camp your friend belongs to and what devices they own and you’ll soon be able to identify a compatible and individual gift.
- lets you gift an ebook to anyone, anywhere in the world. You can even choose a delivery date.
- Amazon Kindle eBooks sport a Give as a Gift purchase button, as do Amazon Audible audio books.
- At the Barnes&Noble online store you can also Buy As Gift whichever audio or ebook your friend may desire.
Give The Gift Of Consideration
Whatever you decide to give as a gift, be considerate. Don’t gift just because you have to or to entertain yourself. Make your gift personal, meaningful, and useful for the recipient.
What were the best gifts you have ever received and why did they create a lasting memory? Please share and you might inspire others looking for the perfect gift idea.