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The beauty of the digital age is that when you’ve waited until the very last second to get someone a gift, you don’t have to worry about shipping logistics or inventory issues. Instead, you can send someone something virtual that arrives in their inbox on the day of purchase (or can sometimes be scheduled in advance). There’s no harm in giving someone a gift certificate, especially if you know where they shop often, but we have some alternative suggestions. We focus on subscriptions to services that your friends and family can enjoy all year round that may not be tangible but are very thoughtful digital gifts as they recognize and advance the interests of that special someone.
The best for the perpetual student: master class
MasterClass subscribers get unlimited access to in-depth video courses taught by masters in their chosen subject(s). Taught with pre-recorded video instructions, the classes include cooking taught by Gordon Ramsey, drumming taught by Ringo Starr and writing taught by Roxane Gay. MasterClass offers new courses regularly, so this subscription will only increase in value over time.
Best for the cable cutter: Sling TV
Cable cutters sometimes regret their decision to discontinue cable service. Internet video streaming is amazing, but sometimes you want to catch the latest episode of your favorite show or sports match while it’s on the air. With a subscription to Sling TV, you can stream live TV from multiple premium channels including CNN, ESPN, TLC, TNT, and TBS. Sling can be accessed from any device, allowing them to stream any of their shows from anywhere.
Best for bookworms: Kindle Unlimited
There’s bound to be one person in your life who keeps complaining about never reading the classics or missing out on this year’s best-selling novel. A Kindle Unlimited subscription is a great gift as it gives you instant access to millions of books on demand. These books can be read on a Kindle or any device running the Kindle app, including smartphones and tablets. Kindle Unlimited’s library includes titles from all genres and is constantly updated, so you’ll always have something new to read.
The best for busy book lovers: audible
If you’re shopping for someone who doesn’t have time to read as much as they’d like, give them Audible as a gift. The audiobook service has millions of titles, and their subscription allows them to download one to two books a month and listen to them on their smartphone, tablet, and even Echo smart speakers. Audible automatically syncs their place so they can stop at a certain point on one device and pick up the “book” on another without wasting time.
The best for online shoppers: Amazon Prime
We all know someone who has given up personal shopping entirely, and chances are they would benefit from an Amazon Prime subscription. Prime members get free two-day (or even one-day) delivery on millions of items, plus fun perks like free access to a selection of the Amazon Video and Amazon Music libraries. An active Prime subscription also allows your friend or family member to attend Amazon’s Prime Day, a two-day deal event that takes place over the summer.
Best for people who want to relax more: headspace
Meditation can be intimidating, but Headspace walks you through the meditation step-by-step, breaking multi-minute sessions into digestible chunks. The app is available for iOS and Android, so all your friends and family members need to do is plug in a pair of earbuds, choose the type of meditation they want to do, and click play. Headspace is very beginner-friendly, which makes it a great gift.
Best for Travelers: Airbnb gift card
If you know someone with wanderlust, Airbnb is helping fund their new adventure — and it’s a gift they may not see coming. Airbnb is the premier service for renting apartments or houses for short (or long) stays. Many people don’t know that the service offers gift certificates, which makes this gift a little more personal.
The best for TV viewers: Outstanding+
Paramount Plus has one of the largest libraries of on-demand TV shows (and movies) on the web. So if you know someone who loves watching the latest CBS shows instead of settling for clips on YouTube, this is the best digital gift. The service has also started offering live sports, especially UEFA Champions League matches, so this makes a great gift for football fans too.
Most practical: Backblaze cloud storagee
Everyone goes through memory and disk space faster than they think. And if they’re serious about keeping their files, they should back up their data to multiple locations, ideally desktop drives at home or the office along with a cloud backup. Redundancy is the best way to ensure that all of these files remain intact in case something should happen. And while a physical drive might not arrive in time for the holidays, a cloud-based backup system makes a perfect digital gift.
Best for people who love language: Rosetta Stone Lifetime Subscription
When you’re shopping for someone whose New Year’s resolution is to learn a new language, you’re gifting them a lifetime Rosetta Stone subscription. The well-known language learning platform guides you in small steps from simple phrases to advanced conjugation. They can continue to repeat previous chapters until they feel comfortable. Rosetta Stone was a PC-only application, but you can download the service’s mobile app to study on the go.