Are you still scrambling to get all your gifts together? Shipping may determine whether your presents make it in time for the holidays. What can you do when it’s too late to ship your gift?
We’ve prepared a list of the best virtual gifts, not just for online friends. On top of being guaranteed to arrive in time, these last-minute digital gifts also have a small ecological footprint.
Digital Gift Cards, Certificates, and Vouchers
Do you know where your gift recipient likes to shop? Most stores offer digital gift cards for their online shops.
- Gaming Enthusiasts: If your giftee enjoys gaming, you could get them an Xbox or Steam digital gift card.
- Movie Lovers: Consider getting the couch potato in your life a Fandango gift card. This will let them watch the latest blockbusters at a close-by movie theater.
- Apple Mac or iPhone owners: Get them an Apple Store or App Store and iTunes Gift Card which will let them choose from a world of Apple accessories, apps, and entertainment. If you’re not an Apple user yourself, you can get this Apple and App Store gift card on Amazon.
- Android phone owners: Likewise, Android users will appreciate a Google Play gift voucher (also available on Amazon).
- Miscellaneous PayPal Digital Gifts: The Netflix gift card is one of many PayPal Digital Gifts. You can also choose eGift cards from Best Buy and eBay. Obviously, you don’t have to use PayPal for any of these, you could just turn to Amazon.
- Shoppers: What would the world’s biggest online retailer, Amazon, be without digital gift card options? Amazon offers both eGift Cards and Print at Home Gift Cards, which will buy your virtual shopper anything Amazon has to offer, including Kindle Ebooks or a Netflix subscription.
In short, if it’s online and selling things, it most probably has a digital gift option, and you’re more than likely to also find it on Amazon. 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.
Inspired Gift Cards: Giftly
If you’re still at a loss what kind of gift card you should get, use Giftly to spur your inspiration. First, you choose what you want to give, with options ranging from anything to hot cocoa, then you choose a place. Next, you customize your voucher before you pay and either print it out yourself or have it sent to the recipient via email, text, or card. If you have absolutely no clue what your recipient might appreciate, you could select to give them anything at any place.
Be careful when purchasing a gift card for someone abroad or outside the US, though; not all gift cards work in all countries.
Premium Web Services as Virtual Gifts
Like many digital stores, other online services offer pro memberships or subscriptions. People are often somewhat reserved when it comes to investing in such services; it’s a luxury. And that actually makes these services a perfect gift.
What better gift could you deliver than to improve your friend’s experience with their favorite online 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.
- Netflix: Surprise someone with unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows.
- Audible: Gift an audiobook per month for three months at a cost of $45.
- Pandora: Make a music lover’s day by removing the ads from their favorite music recommendation service. Pandora lets you email a gift card or print it yourself.
- Spotify: Ad-free commercial music streaming gift cards starting at $10. While you can’t buy them online, you could just buy one at a local store and share the PIN with your recipient.
- Hulu: Gift a whole month of unlimited movies and TV series. As with Spotify, gift cards aren’t sold online, but you can just share the code.
- Disney+: This subscription package includes exclusive Disney movies, Hulu shows, and ESPN, making it the perfect family gift. You’ll have to pick up a physical gift card and share the code.
Other Premium Services
- Amazon Prime: Extra fast shipping, streaming blockbusters, and borrowing Kindle books for free for one year with an Amazon Prime subscription. Learn more about the awesome benefits of Amazon Prime.
- Kindle Unlimited: Bookworms will appreciate unlimited access to Amazon’s library of Kindle ebooks. You can gift a six months subscription for just under $30.
- GoSkills: Give the gift of learning. Pick a specific course or the Unlimited option for $39 and support your loved one’s self-improvement ambitions.
- Treehouse: If your giftee is a programmer, they will appreciate a subscription to this online course library.
- LastPass Premium: Secure passwords stored online and synced across devices.
- Setapp: Gift a Mac user all the best Mac apps in one convenient suite, starting at $8.99/month with the annual subscription.
Individual Digital Gifts
Gift cards and subscriptions aren’t the most exciting of gifts and may seem uncreative. Here are options for those of you seeking 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 for the gift, and finally tap Next and confirm your purchase.
If your friend is into music and if you know what genres or artists 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 Music Unlimited has a Give album OR song as gift button when you expand More options. Also, double-check your friend’s Wish List.
- iTunes has an option to gift albums, which works just like gifting an iOS app.
- Bandcamp lets you send songs or albums as a gift.
Audiobooks and Ebooks
Finally, everyone loves a good story or learning new things. Some people prefer reading, others have embraced audiobooks, which are great gifts. Find out what camp your friend belongs to and what devices they own, and you’ll soon be able to identify a compatible and custom gift.
- Kobo eGift cards: You can select these, but Kobo also lets you gift an ebook to anyone, anywhere in the world. You can even choose a delivery date.
- Amazon Kindle Ebooks: The service sports a Give as a Gift purchase button, as do Amazon Audible audiobooks.
- 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.
Note that whenever you do online shopping, you can donate to a charity of your choice—for free—by using a service like Giftfluence. Just visit Giftfluence, choose a cause, then use Giftfluence’s online store link/s, and do your online shopping as usual. Giftfluence also lists vouchers you can use to save on your online purchases.
The Best Digital Gifts
Although we’ve rounded up some of the best last-minute digital gift ideas, if you’re not sure which gift card to choose, simply use one of these creative ways to give money, instead!
Digital gifts without shipping is a convenient way to go. But if you’re still up in the air and are in need of a gift for the Apple fan in your life, check out one of these gift ideas for Mac users.