The holiday gifting season is almost over. For some, this comes as a huge relief because it means a return to non-holiday normalcy is approaching. For others — more specifically, the procrastinators — the prospect may elicit a very different emotion: terror. Fret not, however, for we come bearing good news; there's still time to find the perfect gift(s) for all the people in your life... just maybe not if that gift is a physical object.
As shipping delays and supply chain issues plague much of the world, especially this year, we posit a simple and perhaps elegant solution. Rather than scrambling to find a suitable gift that may or (likelier) may not arrive in time, it might better suit you and yours to consider getting something virtual. To better express what we mean, we've rounded together several categories of gifts (and a few examples therein) that do not need shipping, can be purchased and gifted in the same breath, and will still elicit cheers and tears of joy from those you hold closest. These are the best last-minute virtual gifts.
The world is a vast and beautiful place full of all manner of things to do and adventures to behold. Sometimes, to get people out there, they just need a little push. In this case, that push comes in the form of prepaid experiences — you foot the bill in order for your giftee to go do something they might not normally do, like visit a National Park, drive an actual race car and thousands of other things in the same vein.
There are 423 National Parks across the United States, and each one is chock-full of wonders to behold. This $80 pass grants users access to all of them (and plenty of other federal recreation sites) for a full year from the month of purchase. That's 365 potential days of adventure, for those keeping score.
Ticketmaster (and its subsidiary, Live Nation) offer access to some of the best live events around the world, ranging from concerts to sporting events to arts experiences and more. Furthermore, with its service, you can pick specific events as a gift or just go for a gift card and let your giftee choose what they'd like to attend.
If variety is the spice of life, then Virgin's wide array of available gift experiences is a top-shelf spice rack loaded to the gills with just about any kind of activity you can imagine. That includes things like exotic car racing, beer making, dining cruises and even skydiving. If you can't find the right experience gift here, maybe that's not really what you want.
Sometimes, the best gift you can give to someone is the ability to get themselves whatever they want and/or need. If there's someone in your life that's especially difficult to buy for, getting them a gift card might be your best option. After all, who doesn't like being handed what amounts to free cash?
If a product exists, there's a decent chance that it can be purchased on Amazon (and delivered quickly, at that). Especially for particularly difficult giftees, getting a gift card to this online retail giant is a pretty safe bet.
For everyone that loves outdoor adventure, retailer Backcountry has got you covered. Offering everything from alpinist accessories to zoological observation tools, getting one of these gift cards is perfect for anyone that likes camping, hiking and all things even tangentially related therein.
One of our favorite online retailers, Huckberry has an impressively deep catalog that ranges from design-forward furniture to everyday carry pocket gear and everything in-between. This is an especially good gift for the man in your life that appreciates high-quality gear across all categories.
A gift doesn't have to be limited to a single package, especially in the case of subscription boxes and services. With one of these, you can grant your giftee monthly, quarterly, biannual, etc. deliveries — so long as you're willing to pay for the packages. Of course, you can also use some of these for individual packages if you don't want to sign up long-term.
Like a one-stop shop for curated gift boxes, Bespoke Post has an offering for just about anyone — be that a whiskey lover, cigar fanatic, fireside lounger and/or an actual lumberjack. If you struggle with coming up with the perfect idea, you can trust Bespoke Post to do the heavy lifting for you.
Beard grooming is a regular necessity for anyone that grows facial hair, even if that grooming is in the form of shaving everything off. Well, you can make that process a bit simpler and more enjoyable by gifting a Dollar Shave Club membership, which will help your giftee better manage their face hair hygiene regularly.
The world of alcohol is a vast one, and that can be intimidating to even the well-informed. Help the spirit lover in your life on their journey by giving a Flaviar membership, which grants them up to eight bottles a year and a bevy of other benefits, like guided tastings and more.
Long gone are the days of buying DVDs, albums, audiobooks, etc. Today, streaming reigns supreme, at least in regards to digesting visual and audio entertainment. If you know someone that likes to kick back, throw something on and enjoy, gifting them a membership to a streaming service might be just the ticket, especially as a last-minute option.
With hundreds of shows, movies and more — including a bevy of originals — plus the option to bundle with Disney+ and ESPN+, Hulu's subcriptions represent some of the best value propositions in the streaming service industry. And that makes for an outstanding last-minute gift.
When it comes to hi-fi audio streaming, Jay-Z's Tidal has been on at forefront of the industry and continues to innovate with its suite of offerings. Now, a paid membership offers over 80 million songs and 350k videos offered in hi-fi and hi-def — plus a bevy of other perks.
If you know someone that likes podcasts and/or reading, they might be the perfect candidate for an Audible membership, which is kind of like streaming but for audiobooks. And since the program is owned and operated by Amazon (which started as an online book retailer), there's no shortage of titles.
One of the best gifts you can give someone is the ability to better themselves. And, in the age of the internet, there's no shortage of ways to manage that without ever leaving your home. These offerings are great for the giftee that loves to learn, and they include a wide variety of potential pursuits.
Perhaps the most impressive and wide-ranging online learning opportunity, MasterClass offers courses from some of the world's leading experts. This includes James Cameron teaching film, Nas teaching hip-hop storytelling and even Dr. Jane Goodall teaching conservation — and that's only the beginning.
Originally started as a means of allowing folks to try out varying fitness classes and workouts, ClassPass has evolved to include other self-care and wellness-focused things like massage, spa visits and even haircuts. If you know someone that likes to exercise and/or someone that deserves some relaxation, go no further.
Especially if you know someone looking to bolster their resume, Udemy online classes are a great opportunity to learn some tech-focused skills — including everything from coding to business management and more. In fact, this platform offers literally hundreds of thousands of classes across a huge variety of topics.
In the digital age, even movies, video games, books and more can all be downloaded rather than purchased as a physical item. That means, even if you wait to the last possible second to buy your gifts, you can still find the perfect one to help get your giftee's mind occupied in various fun and engaging ways.
Thanks to the internet, it's now possible to get a personalized video shoutout from your giftee's favorite celebrities, be they big-name athletes, chart-topping musicians or even zoo animals. Cameo makes for one of the most unique gift propositions around, and its also quite timely — making it perfect for procrastinators.
As a director, few come close to the artistic attention to detail mastered by Wes Anderson. And that's on full display in his most recent film, The French Dispatch. If you know any movie buffs who haven't seen it and/or big Anderson fans, this is an easy slam-dunk of a last-minute gift.
Having just won Best Narrative at this year's Game Awards, there's a strong argument to be made for picking up this quirky Marvel title for the gamer in your life. It's fun, has a lot of heart and it's a refreshing departure from other recent disappointing Marvel games.
One part heist novel, one part a crash course in critical race theory, this novel comes courtesy of a two-time Pulitzer winner. That in itself is a reason to consider picking up this book as a last-minute virtual gift. If it isn't, you might want to check out its long list of accolades.