Order These Digital Gifts Now

Hello Christmas Monday! The family holiday will take place in two days, and there will definitely be nothing under the tree for your niece, your mother, your brother, and possibly even your own partner. Sure, you could get to the mall, but the shops are already pretty popular … and to be honest, a lot of people don’t really want anything else this holiday season.

Enter a digital gift. For those of us who live in cramped quarters, non-item gifts are the only items on our Santa wish list. Gift certificates are, of course, original gifts, but if you’re looking for new ideas, there are a million new virtual goods and services that won’t take up space in a stocking (or on an airplane on the way home.).

Online classes

If your family is self-taught, check out the millions of virtual classrooms available online. Take a look at Udemy for coding, business, or photography tutorials, among others; Babbel or LingQ for languages; Great courses in natural history or history (and other) lectures by professors; or ArtistWorks for music lessons. Do you have a friend or teenager interested in stand-up? Visit the online shop Steve Martin comedy from the master a class or a class Gold Comedy for girls. Has any family member recently become interested in yoga? Search Gaia for classes for beginners, all the way up to a yoga master. Looking to improve your kitchen game ? The Culinary Skills Institute offers knife lessons for $ 105.

Museum or attraction membership and tickets

I love gifts that people can enjoy all year round, such as tickets to local events or attractions. If you have a child in your family who is crazy about dinosaurs, consider becoming a member of your local natural history museum. Or a package of ten tickets to the zoo, ice rink or ski slope, or January tickets to a theater or opera. In my area there is an indoor play space for children that only costs a little too much; I would love five packs of passes to make sure my kids get through their worst winters. Or, if you have a movie buff, consider a wad of tickets to your local cinema.

Podcasts and Audiobooks

Podcasts and audiobooks are what you need if your gifted person drives a lot or needs gym entertainment. If you’re keeping costs low this season, or if your first-time podcast recipient, you can download your favorite episodes and mix it up for the recipient. If they already have favorites, consider upgrading to premium versions of their favorites (One of the Lifehacker staff gets a Mark Maron podcast for his dad; I get a Slate Plus subscription with extended podcasts for one of my addict cousins.) Children Pinna offers a ton of possibilities. Last year, I gave my mom an Audible subscription.

3-D printing

A colleague here at Lifehacker gave her dad a custom 3D printing gift card that is so common I feel like I should get it for someone this Christmas. You upload the model, select the materials, and they print and send the design to you. Embarrassed? There are tutorials, instructions, and “inspiration” from the community.

Quality services

I can’t afford to hire a real interior decorator and they scare me anyway. Enter a Virtual Decorator: If you’re looking for interior design services on Etsy, your recipient can get online advice, mood boards, and shopping assistance to decorate one room or an entire home. But before you think about redecorating, you might want to consider reorganizing: The National Association of Productivity and Organization Professionals can help you find a professional organizer to come to your home or help you clean your toilets. For that matter, you can hire someone from TaskRabbit to help a family member who needs to put shelves or run errands ( here’s how to get a gift card for TaskRabbit). If one of your friends has a baby, a gift certificate for a food delivery from your local fancy food store or for a house cleaning service might just be fine. Homemade babysitting vouchers are always welcome as well.

Digital entertainment

For friends who prefer to read on their Kindle or tablet, you can donate a digital copy of your favorite book via Amazon or a CD via iTunes. This year I am giving a friend a copy of Station Eleven and a Margot Price album . For those in your life, you might want to consider a gift card in the app store so they can buy extra bonuses or something else on their favorite games.


If someone gave me a few personal workouts or a massage or pedicure gift card, I would love them forever. You can call the spa or gym and you will most likely receive your gift voucher by email in five minutes.

Virtual privacy

If you have a college student, they may appreciate a VPN for encrypting their messages and keeping their data safe. The recipient will likely want to get involved in the selection and installation of this gift, but if you need basic instructions check out this guide on Slate .


How about a person who doesn’t really want any more things, but is still kind of a foodie? The Beer / Wine / Cookie / Oyster Clubs of the Month extend the delectable holiday treats by months or an entire year, and if you’re lucky enough to live nearby, you can drop by on delivery day.

Subscription to magazines and newspapers

Print magazines aren’t just for doctor’s offices, and your brother or sister might love getting New Yorker or Atlantic or Food and Wine . I gave my husband a Washington Post subscription , which is free for six months with Amazon Prime, and then $ 4. (Okay, this is really a gift for me too.)

Charitable donations

If you’re not at all thrilled with consumerism during the holiday season and want to reallocate your resources a bit, consider donating to your favorite charity on behalf of a family member. Writing a note explaining why you thought they would support this particular charity can be a meaningful holiday communication in itself.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you can get any of them in just a few minutes – even a handwritten IOU is better than nothing. Are there any other digital intangible gift ideas? Leave them in the comments.


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