Great Last Minute Gifts

By Tracey Dowdy

We’ve all been there at one time or another – the search for a last minute gift. Whether you’ve been invited to a party and can’t show up empty handed or just realized you’ve forgotten someone on your list, here are some great last minute gift ideas.

  • Apps and App Store Credits – Google offers Google Play gifts in amounts from $10-$100, as does Apple in the iTunes store and Amazon offers cards from $10 – $150. All three allow you to email cards but Amazon also offers the option to send the card via Facebook.
  • Gift Cards – I know, I know, nothing says “I couldn’t be bothered” more than a gift card, but a gift card with actual thought behind it is not a gift to be mocked. Because practically everyone seems to offer gift cards these days you can be specific – AMC or Regal cards for the film buff, Spotify for the music lover, Barnes and Noble for the reader…the possibilities are endless.
  • Speaking of gift cards, if you don’t have time to hunt down a physical gift card, there are hundreds of e-gift cards available. Everyone from Apple to WalMart offer e-gift cards for a variety of price points. Note: Not all e-gift cards can be scheduled for delivery so you’ll want to check with each retailer to see if delivery is immediate upon purchase or if you can schedule for a specific date.
  • Digital Activation Codes may sound like something that shuts down the power grid in a Batman movie but they’re actually way cooler than that and a whole lot lot safer. Retailers like Amazon and GameStop sell digital activation codes for game consoles so all the recipient has to do is punch in the access code and download the game – no disc necessary. A word of caution – be sure you buy the right code for the users system. If you’re not sure what to buy, open option e-gift cards are available for Xbox, Playstation, or Nintendo game system so the recipient can choose their own game.
  • Buy yourself some time with a subscription. Whether it’s a membership at a local winery, Barkbox for dog owners, Birchbox for beauty products, Love With Food for the foodie, or Kiwi Crate filled with craft ideas for kids, there’s no end to the options available.
  • Buy an experience. Instead of a physical gift, give a ticket to the zoo, a hockey game, paintballing, a play, or passes to a National Park. I have a friend whose mom gives the family season passes to an amusement park every year. It gives the family the opportunity to spend time together at far less cost than if they bought individual tickets and it makes great memories. Passes and tickets can generally be purchased and downloaded directly from the websites.

If none of these work, keep in mind Amazon offers same say delivery in most major cities and Amazon Prime even offers one hour – yes, I said one hour – deliveries in 17 cities. Obviously there’s a catch: same day deliveries usually need to be placed before noon, aren’t available everywhere and shipping costs will be higher. While we’re on it, Amazon Prime itself makes for a great gift.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

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