10 easy, last-minute digital gifts for Christmas
The technology-lover in your life will appreciate e-books, digital TV shows and online gift certificates.
Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 12:50 PM
You've been so busy that you forgot to get a gift for someone on your list. Don't panic. We've rounded up the best last-minute gifts: presents you can send your loved ones digitally that will arrive in email immediately, even on Dec. 25. From movies and e-books to software and apps, these downloadable gifts will really save your Christmas ham.
Amazon Prime subscription
With free two-day shipping, unlimited Amazon Instant Video streaming and free rental of Kindle books, anyone -- from your mother to your nephew -- will find something to love about an Amazon Prime subscription. At $79 for a year's subscription, Prime enhances your loved one's online shopping experience. If the recipient already has Prime, your gift can be exchanged for an Amazon gift card. Just go to Amazon's "Give the gift of Prime" page to send it, and Amazon will deliver an email with redemption instructions to your recipient.[Top 10 Holiday Tech Gifts of 2013]
There's nothing your couch-potato friend loves more than a gripping TV series she can devour in one sitting. Unfortunately, neither Amazon Instant Video nor iTunes let you send entire seasons of TV shows to someone else. Giving someone a Netflix subscription is also troublesome, since you don't know how long it will take for him or her to finish a TV series, so you won't know if even a one-year subscription would be enough.
Enter Sony Pictures, which teamed up with Vudu earlier this year to offer a diverse collection of movie and TV-show purchases and rentals with gifting options. Gift the entire fourth season of "The Walking Dead" for $26.99 or the final season of "Breaking Bad" for $14.99. Your friend can then stream it from her browser, or download it to view at her own leisure with the Vudu app.
Even if he doesn't own a gaming console, your shooter-obsessed brother will be able to play a Steam game. The online gaming platform can be used on any computer with the Steam client. With titles ranging from the popular "Batman: Arkham Origins" and "The Walking Dead: Season 2" to indie ones such as "The Stanley Parable," you will be able to find a game to tickle your brother's fancy. We recommend getting the newly launched "The Walking Dead: Season 2," based on the popular comic-book series, for $22.49.
MP3s are so 2003. Radio services such as Pandora, Rdio and Spotify let you listen to new music without having to scour the Web for the song. Your buddy will love a subscription to Pandora One, which removes ads, and includes desktop app access and higher audio quality, among other upgrades. A year's subscription to Pandora One costs $36. Personalize your gift by creating a special holiday playlist and sharing it with your friend! [12 Best Music Apps]
The budding photographer in your circle will love seeing Adobe's Photoshop Elements 12 in his inbox come Christmas morning, but how do you dress up the boring "Here's Your Download Link" email? Giftwhip.com lets you create an e-wrapper for your digital gifts and send it to your friends to be opened on a particular date.
This service is particularly nifty for other software such as Norton Anti-Virus or Corel Paint Shop Pro X6. After you purchase the program on Adobe or another site, just paste the software download link (and serial number, if necessary) into Giftwhip, pick a wrapper and set an unwrap date before sending it to your pal.
iPhone / iPad apps
Your pal has always wanted that $20 app for his iPad but could never bring himself to splurge. This Christmas, give him the app he's always wanted via the App Store. If you don't know what to get your bud, take a look around the Top Paid Apps charts for some good ideas. You can get "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" for $6.99. Any paid title in the iOS app store can be given as a gift, and Apple provides seven different e-wrappers from which to choose.
Comixology delivers digital graphic novels and individual comic books for the superhero fans on your list. With titles from Marvel, DC and smaller players Image and Vertigo, you can pick a series that your nerdy friend will love. And if you're looking for something with a broader appeal, try the graphic novels that spawned the wildly successful AMC TV series "The Walking Dead" starting at $1.99 per issue, or the "Iron Man" series starting at $1.99 per issue. Your buddy can read them on Comixology's app for iOS, Android, Kindle and Windows devices. [Top 25 Android Tablet Apps for 2013]
The odds will ever be in your favor if you get your loved one "The Hunger Games" e-books. Book lovers will adore the tomes you add to their e-library, even if they don't have a Kindle. Your sister can easily read the e-books you get her on her computer with the Kindle Web app or a browser plug-in. From the vast database of books in the Amazon Kindle store, we recommend "The Hunger Games Trilogy" for $17.49, which will engross your sister for days on end.
StubHub gift certificate
Some people say we spend too much time online and not enough time in person. For these folks, we say get a couple of StubHub or Fandango tickets so they can enjoy in-real-life concerts and movies. With a wide variety of shows and sporting events available, your StubHub gift certificate can please even the pickiest of friends. The tickets can be downloaded within minutes of placing your order, and with StubHub's Gift Guide, you'll be able to select the best event for your friend's "Tixmas" present.
Know a news junkie? They will love a subscription to Next Issue, a service that provides more than 100 magazines -- such as Time, Us Weekly and The New Yorker -- for $9.99 a month. Your friend can access all this content -- including back issues -- from their iOS, Android and Windows devices. Whether they love sports, current affairs, photography or fashion, expand your friend's horizons with the vast library of titles available in Next Issue. You can get a one-, three-, six- or 12-month subscription for between $14.99 and $179.88.
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