We don’t want to alarm you, but by this time next week, Christmas will be just a memory.
If that sentence put a stab of gift-buying panic through your heart, you’re not alone. As lives get busier and we try to cram more fun into the holiday months, a growing number of shoppers don’t get around to finishing their gift buying until the last minute.
Good news. There’s still time to come out of this holiday season as a gift-giving hero. You just have to know where to look — and have a good sense of exactly how much time you have left.
Here are some ideas that can add a touch of personalization to your last minute gift — and spare you from grabbing a last minute gift card or lottery ticket from the corner store.
Digitally purchase a video game ($20-$60) — While gifting a title directly from aPlayStation 4 is still a pipe dream, Xbox One owners can now digitally gift select titles to each other, as well as Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass subscriptions. PC gamers, meanwhile, can easily buy each other games as gifts on Steam. And, as a bonus, the service typically offers tremendous deals as the holidays draw close, which will let you buy a lot for a little. That means your generosity will overshadow your lack of planning.
Buy a MoviePass ($30-$120) — Buying a friend a ticket to a movie is more an everyday thing than a holiday gift. But buying them tickets for an unlimited number of films? Now you’re thinking. MoviePass lets people watch as many of the latest movies in theaters as many times as they want. It’s a $10 per month service, but you can buy three-, six- or 12-month subscriptions as gift vouchers. Buy yourself one and you and your buddy can debate the merits of Star Wars: The Last Jedi again and again, after each showing.
Grab an Amazon Echo, Kindle or Fire TV (prices vary) — Amazon’s the master of last minute and overnight shipping. So you really have a pretty wide swath of options from the retailer. But its own electronics have proven to be some of its most popular items. The Kindle Oasis is a waterproof eReader that boasts a bigger screen than predecessors. The Echo Dot is ridiculously cheap these days as Amazon looks to gain market share. And Fire TV has been updated to support 4K streams as well as high dynamic range video.
Buy Bitcoin (prices vary wildly) — Got a friend who lives and breathes tech? You’ll earn their undying affection by sinking some money on their behalf into the Bitcoin bubble — and that gift could become a whole lot more generous than you imagined in the next days, weeks or months (or, heck, hours the way that market is going these days). Of course, it could all collapse tomorrow as well, but is that really any different than buying them something they use for a short while, then put aside?
Donate to Project Night Night ($25) — Sometimes the best gifts aren’t for the people who receive them. It’s made in their name. There are plenty of worthy charities out there, and plenty of people who need help. Perhaps the person on your list prefers the local Humane Society or wants to help with relief for Puerto Rico. But if you can’t decide, consider Project Night Night, which provides a blanket, a book, and a stuffed animal to children in shelters. You can donate cash or items to the organization. And all it takes is $25 to ensure one of the packages finds its way to a child in need.
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