Holiday Stress Buster: For Last Minute Christmas Gifts, Go Digital
by C.S. Clarke, Ph.D.
The following list should help you with last minute needs for gifts you've forgotten or for which you've simply had no time to shop. It can also be your primary approach to all your shopping, to save time, money and hassle.
There are two excellent ways to use the computer for last minute and belated shopping: 1) you can place an order for a physical product to be delivered later and simply present a card or e-card that tells your recipient of the selected gift; or 2) you can have a digital gift delivered almost instantly. Here's the idea and source list for those digital gifts:
1. Gift Cards/Certificates. Always a winner for last minute gifts and those difficult-to-buy-for folks, gift cards and certificates have long since gone digital. Most of your favorite online and brick and mortar stores have gift certificates you can buy and print out or email. You can check them individually. However, my favorite in this category is GiftCertificates.com (http://giftcertificates.com). There you can not only select gift cards from hundreds of well-known stores and restaurants, but, even better, you can buy what is called a SuperCertificate. A SuperCertificate is good for any of those hundreds of providers that your recipient chooses and can be instantly printed to hand to the recipient or can be emailed to distant recipients. How easy is that?
2. E-Books. (Or Kindle books.) You'll have to go to Amazon for your friends who have Kindle readers, but EBooks.com (http://ebooks.com), Diesel EBooks (http://www.diesel-ebooks.com/), EbookMall (http://www.ebookmall.com/) and a number of others have the e-versions of bestsellers and thousands of other commercially available books.
3. Music. For computer, iPod or other mp3 players, both the iTunes store and Amazon.com have downloads you can send as gifts or gift certificates you can give. The gift certificate for iTunes is a great choice for giving to teens.
4. Movies. With the advent of larger screens, it's become quite usual to watch movies and TV on a computer. You can get downloads, or, in some cases, rents. Again, try the iTunes store and Amazon.com. And, thinking of rents, how about giving the gift of Netflix (http://netflix.com)?
5. Software. Once upon a time, you could primarily download only shareware. Now, most commercial software is available in a download version. If you know what your friends and family want in software, it makes a fabulous instant gift. If the software you want to give isn't available by download, just take the non-digital route of buying the physical product, having it shipped and giving a card or email in which you announce the gift is on it's way.
There are other possibilities for digitizing your gift shopping -- for example, I didn't list audio book sources -- but this is just to get you started thinking, and shopping, in an easier way.
Whatever you do, here's hoping you have a happy and stress-free holiday season and New Year.