Last-second gifts: Fill in those final gaps on your list

December 23, 2013

You’ve made your list. But have you checked it twice? If you find that you’ve missed someone at the last minute, never fear. The Internet is here to help.

For one, there are plenty of great, downloadable, digital gifts to give — and no one will ever have to know that you left it to the last second. Subscriptions to video services such as Netflix or Hulu Plus, for example, are always good gifts. (If you still want something to wrap, include the print-out of the subscription code with a box of popcorn.) Or if there’s a certain show that you really want a friend to watch, you can also turn to Vudu, which lets you give particular movies or television seasons.

For gamers who may have spent their last dimes picking up either an Xbox One or a PlayStation 4, consider a subscription to GameFly’s rental service. For those who prefer the PC to console games, consider a gift certificate or gift codes for specific games from Steam — the digital game platform that’s in the midst of a killer sale right now. Or, if you’re more philanthropically inclined, you can also give gift codes for games bought on the Humble Store, which gives 10 percent of all purchases to charity.

Readers will appreciate a book or two delivered digitally to their e-reader. Barnes and Noble Nook owners can get apps and books delivered straight to their e-readers; you can even schedule the books to arrive at a certain time, to coincide with gift-giving. Sony and Kobo also offer gift cards for their readers from their online stores. And Amazon also lets users give gift cards, individual books or Audible audiobook subscriptions as gifts to the bibliophiles in their lives. (Jeffrey P. Bezos, chief executive of Amazon.com, is the owner of The Washington Post.) Giving e-books rather than normal books may mean that you can’t write a heartfelt inscription on the flyleaf, but it does make the process a whole lot lighter.

If you just have to have something physical and personal to give to your friends, consider delivering something delicious from Goldbely, which works with local vendors across the country to ship goodies to your door. While some of the restaurants on the site are already sold out for Christmas — sadly, that list includes D.C. institution Ben’s Chili Bowl — others are still promising to ship in time for Dec. 25.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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