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Don’t blame yourself for falling behind on holiday shopping. With Thanksgiving falling on November 28 in 2019, the 25 shopping days from Black Friday to Christmas Eve makes for the shortest mathematically possible holiday season.
For what it’s worth, the U.S. Post Office says that if something ships by Friday, December 20 via ordinary first class mail, it should arrive by December 25th. Maybe you plan to spend this weekend wandering aimlessly around brick and mortar stores until some kind of gift giving inspiration strikes, but that’s along with everyone else crowding the aisles with panicked last-minute gift buying. Suffice to say, it’s a recipe for a truly awful gift.
Your best choice to get your last minute shopping done right now, and give them something they’ll actually want, is to choose one of the never-fail gift ideas below.
E-books are easy last-minute gifts. You can either have it delivered directly to the recipient’s device or sent as an e-mail code (along with a holiday message so they know who it’s from). Some retailers even let you schedule the e-book to arrive on the day you specify just in time for unwrapping presents.
Before you give, find out if your recipient already has a preferred e-reader device. Different e-book file formats don’t always play nicely with each other, so you’ll need to buy from the right e-book seller. If they read on a Kindle, use the Amazon store to choose the book you want to give and the day you want it to arrive, or send a digital gift card. People who use an iPhone or iPad will appreciate an Apple gift card. If they have an Android device and they use the Google Play Books app to read (not the Kindle app on Android), send a Google gift card. And if you (or your gift recipient) prefer to support independent bookstores, check out this list of local booksellers that offer e-books online.
Comixology, which is also owned by Amazon, is your go-to for digital comic books and graphic novels. They offer content from more than 125 publishers, with high resolution digital editions dating all the way back to the Golden Age of Comics. You can gift individual issues and collected editions to a recipient’s e-mail address, or simply send them an e-gift card. Comixology also offers Netflix-like access to their collection for $5.99 a month — consider sending a gift card worth three or six months of Comixology Unlimited subscription fees.
Most video games are downloaded directly onto a console or PC, and many popular games now include in-game purchases using real money for loot boxes or higher quality gear. That means a gift card might be even more desirable than another new game.
Like e-books, it helps to know how the gift recipient plays video games. Most PC gamers use Steam, which allows you gift individual games directly or send digital gift cards, as long as your Steam accounts are connected as “friends.” If they play games like Warcraft or Overwatch that are owned by Blizzard Entertainment, buy a digital gift card here. For gamers who prefer a Nintendo Switch or 3DS, you can buy Nintendo gift cards here. Playstation gamers can get gift cards here.
A Disney+ Subscription
Disney built their streaming service with a massive library of both beloved and forgotten content. There’s something for everyone, and even dedicated Disney fans can discover something new. Every Disney princess film, every Pixar film, every Marvel film, every episode of The Simpsons, all the Mickey Mouse films, Disney Channel and Disney Afternoon shows from the 90s and aughts, Marvel cartoons (including the X-Men) from the 70s up through today, all the live action Disney movies, and everything Star Wars, are hidden in Disney’s new streaming service. This coming year will also feature new programing, including Avengers spin-off shows like The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Disney-related reality programming, and that Star Wars show with “Baby Yoda” everyone’s been talking about.
Send them a one-year prepaid Disney+ subscription for $69.99 by clicking here, or you can pick up a physical subscription card at U.S. Disney Stores and in select Disneyland and Walt Disney Stores.
Mystery Box Subscriptions
A mystery box actually lets you buy someone a belated gift, but without having to apologize for it. They’ll get a themed box in the mail within a couple weeks, but you can take credit for it on Christmas and let them know something special is on its way. The price is much less than it would cost to buy all the items in the box individually. Plus if you’re buying a gift for someone who loves an area of fandom you’re not particularly familiar with, a mystery box also allows you to enlist the service to curate a selection of cool and unique goodies that they’ll enjoy.
You can buy mystery boxes for specific franchises like Marvel, Rick and Morty, and Harry Potter. Or you can buy more general mystery boxes for geeky t-shirts, kid-friendly engineering projects, highbrow literature, role-playing games, or board games. Most subscriptions allow you to either buy a single month’s box or pay in advance for several months at a time, so you can find the option that fits your budget.
Disney+ is the only place to stream your favorites from Disney and more. Watch now!