As retailers are quick to remind us, the holidays are coming up fast, and there are plenty of shoppers out there set to strike names off of their lists at the end-of-the-week sales.
But there may be one place you’re not looking that could give you valuable clues about what to get your friends — social networks.
Here are a couple of ideas to help you work together on gifts:
Wrapp: This Facebook app lets you send free gift cards to your friends ranging from $5 to $25, partnering with brands such as the Gap, Threadless, and H&M. You can, of course, also add to the value of a set gift card.
Users can post the cards to each other’s Facebook walls and invite others to contribute to cards sent by mutual friends. Free cards are valid for anywhere from 30 to 90 days; paid cards last longer. Recipients can only redeem one gift card per transaction.
Given.to: This service is good if you’re giving in a group, or want clear but not explicit guidance on what to get the more difficult entries on your gift list. Users can create wishlists and contribute a share to a big gift like a trip. Users can have the items shipped to their doors or put into their PayPal accounts.
Gift recipients can create wishlists based on a catalog of Amazon products, mobile apps and other items to share with friends and family over Facebook and Twitter. Gift givers, then, can look at those lists and contribute as little as $1 to the cause. The service does take a percentage of your contribution out as a fee.
The selection of gifts is a bit limited, but it is fairly easy to search through the available items.
Skype gift cards: Gift cards are pretty ho-hum as far as presents go, but there are some services with pretty useful gift certificates that you may never have considered. Think about services you use all the time that chip away at your savings.
For example, in these days of high cellphone bills and disappearing landlines, talk really isn’t that cheap. For chatterboxes, consider Skype’s new gift cards for its service to let users fill up their accounts on the service, essentially giving the gift of free phone calls. The cards are available through Facebook, which will let you send a personal text or video message along with the card. They are also available at Microsoft, Target and OfficeMax stores and have a $10 minimum. According to Skype, that can be up to three months of unlimited calls in the United States and Canada.