Now that the deadline to have something shipped and arrive before Christmas has officially passed and the truly desperate are combing the malls, you may have resigned yourself to picking up some generic gift cards for the remaining recipients on your gift list. Oh contraire! Before you resort to the modern day equivalent of handing someone an envelope filled with cash, consider these last minute gift options that will allow you to find a personal gift for all the loved ones left on your list.
That iTunes gift card hanging in the grocery store checkout aisle may seem like a good fallback for the iPhone, iPod or iPad user on your list. They can pick the album, movie, app, audiobook, or magazine they want and be happy, right? Yet gifting a specific album you want them to hear, game you think they’d love, or book you can’t wait to talk to them about is so much more personal.
iTunes gifts must be purchased through the iTunes store. From iTunes on your mobile device, find the album or song and click the share icon at the top of the page. Choose the “Gift” icon and follow the prompts and supply your recipients email address so that the gift can be electronically delivered. From your computer, go to http://www.apple.com/itunes/ and search for the specific item you want to give. The search bar is on the far upper right of the page, somewhat camouflaged in the grey menu bar. Once you’ve confirmed they have what you want, follow the prompts to install iTunes. It’s a free application and you can always uninstall it after you’re done. Click the arrow next to the price of the album, song, game or movie and choose “Gift This.”
Digital content can be purchased and sent electronically through Amazon as well. Offering a huge selection of music, movies, books and more, most music downloads (search the MP3 store for the item you want), audiobooks (through Audible) and eBooks can be purchased for others. Look for the “Wish List and Gifting” prompt under the purchase links on the right side of the page. Click the drop down and select the “Give as a Gift” option.
For the music lover on your list, don’t limit them to a specific album – give them on-demand access to just about any song or album they want, anywhere, anytime with no commercials by gifting them a subscription to Spotify Premium (www.spotify.com, $9.99/mo). While this technically requires that you give them a gift card (available online at https://www.spotify.com/us/gift-card/ or in stores like Target and Staples in $10, $30 or $60 denominations), they won’t have to do any shopping. You’ll be giving them all the music they can listen to, whenever they want it. If you buy online you can choose a delivery date and your recipient will get an email in a decorative “eCard” or opt to print it at home to put it under the tree.
Now that my life surrounds chasing after my two kids, keeping my house from falling apart and, oh yeah, working, I have no time to pursue my love of reading. My sanity has been saved on many an occasion by Audible (owned by Amazon), a source for all the latest and greatest books in audiobook format. I can listen to the bestseller my book club selected while I run errands or clean the kitchen. If you have someone like me on your list, check out www.audible.com/mt/giftmembership to gift them a membership (starting at $45 for 3 months). The user is give one “credit” each month that can be used to get the book of their choice and additional titles are offered to members at a good discount. Better yet, pick and gift a specific title that you know they’d love to read, if only they had a moment to sit down and focus on a written word.
Finally, for that loved one that isn’t interested in digital music, books, or games, check out sites like Groupon (www.groupon.com), Living Social (www.livingsocial.com) or Google Offers (www.google.com/offers) for great deals on unique services and experiences that you can gift. Think half price sky diving or heli-skiing for the adventurer on your list; half off online cooking, photography or music lessons; or discount online personal training sessions for your favorite workout junkie. While deals are made available by area, just pick the nearest major metropolitan area to your gift recipient. Online deals are typically redeemable anywhere, but if you spring for a certificate for an in-person adventure you’ll want to make sure your recipient can take advantage of it without too much travelling.
About The Author: Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, a computer repair company that specializes in on-site and online service for homes and businesses. Andrea is the writer of a weekly column, Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She prepares TV segments for and appears regularly on CBS, CW and FOX on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, More Good Day Portland, and CBS 13 News, offering viewers technology and lifestyle tips. See Andrea in action at callnerds.com/andrea/.