These 26 Virtual Gifts Are So Good, Nobody Will Suspect You Bought Them Last-Minute
As much as we wish we were the type of person who’s done with holiday shopping by December 1, we’re just…not. But don't worry, if you also wait until the last minute, miss shipping deadlines and then scramble to get it all done year after year, we've got your back. Luckily for us procrastinators, there are plenty of gift ideas that can be bought with the click of a button and delivered digitally. From online classes to an array of organic snacks to munch on, there are tons of fabulous virtual gifts that everyone in your life will adore. Here are 26 of our favorites.
1. A Charity Donation
For the Philanthropist: A Donation
It’s 2021 and there have never been more causes worth donating to. Not to mention, contributing in someone else’s name is a thoughtful way to show you care. In terms of where to donate, we’re fans of Charity Navigator, a trustworthy site that investigates nonprofits and where their money is going. Right now, we’d urge donating on behalf of yourself and your friends to anything on this list of civil rights charities that are protecting legal rights and promoting tolerance and understanding across the U.S.
Price: Up to you
2. A Cookie Delivery
For the Cookie Monster: Levain Bakery
Delivery options are seriously endless if you know someone with a sweet tooth, from chocolate gifts and kits to cookie boxes. One particular sweets delivery we look forward to? Levain Bakery's. Their signature chocolate chip walnut, dark chocolate chocolate chip, dark chocolate peanut butter chip and oatmeal raisin cookies are seriously delicious even for the person who's tried hundreds of cookies (we can vouch for this). And if you send a four-, eight- or 12-pack to your friend, the blue box comes beautifully packed with the cookies stacked in cellophane bags tied with blue ribbons.
Price: from $27/pack
3. A Wine Delivery
For the Oenophile: Winc
Having a surprise shipment of wine delivered to your doorstep? Amazing. One of our go-tos for memorable but affordable bottles is Winc. Before your brother-in-law starts sipping, Winc will have him fill out a six-question quiz that will determine his palate profile. From the results, the experts at Winc recommend four vinos he’s sure to love. From there, he can make swaps or additions based on the assortment. Plus, new wines are added to the site daily, so he can try new pairings every month. And, better yet, he can rate his wines after he sips them, to get the most accurate recommendations each month.
Price: from $13/bottle
4. A Luxurious Candle
For the Perfume Fiend: Nest Subscription Box
Give the gift of a sweet smelling home with a fragrance subscription from Nest. Every one of Nest's fragrances is a glorious blend of unique, unexpected aroma combinations. Whether you opt for the single candle or candle and diffuser combo box, your BFF will love receiving a new one each month. Plus, every time they inhale the delectable scents, they'll think of you.
Price: Starting at $38
6. A Heartfelt Card
For the Sentimental One: Postable
When it comes to holiday notes, forget email. Send snail mail right from your phone with Postable. Just pick a card, write a message and Postable will send your recipients a request to input their mailing address and then handle the shipping for you.
Price: from $3
7. A Stocked Pantry
For the Organic Eater: Thrive Market
Think of Thrive Market as a virtual grocery store. Offering more than 6,000 different products—from yummy munchies to eco-friendly cleaning products—Thrive allows your pals to stock up on snacks without leaving their house. After they build their box, they can choose how frequently they receive deliveries and can change their order at anytime. And with more than 70 different diet offerings (including gluten-free, vegan, keto and more), they'll find dozens of goodies that fit within their dietary restrictions.
Price: Subscriptions start at $5
8. A Meditation Subscription
For the Zen-Seeker: Headspace
To help your friends and family cope with everything that’s going on in their life and the world at large, give the gift of calm. Aka, a subscription to the meditation app, Headspace. Its easy-to-navigate app has hundreds of guided meditations for everything from stress and anxiety to sleep and walking (just not sleepwalking).
Price: from $13 for a 1-month subscription
9. A Personal Shopper
For the Avid Shopper: Stitch Fix
If your best friend constantly complains about having nothing to wear, she'll love Stitch Fix. After taking a quick and easy style quiz, she's given a personalized, unique-to-her online shop with clothes curated for her personal style. Or, she can partner with a Stitch Fix stylist that will send her a box filled with hand-selected options. And since this isn't a subscription, she'll never have to worry about being charged a monthly fee.
10. At-Home Workouts
For the Gym Buff: Obé Fitness
OK, we know there’s some stigma around gifting, like, a treadmill, to someone who might take it as an insult. But this is so not that. You know that your old roommate has been having a hard time without her beloved in-person HIIT classes, so give her the gift of at-home fitness with Obé Fitness’s signature 28-minute classes, all of which are quick and effective. Once she signs up, she can opt to take one of their live classes in strength, cardio or stretching, or choose one from their on-demand selection.
Price: from $27/month
11. A Cup of Coffee
For the Caffeine Addict: Atlas Coffee Co.
Perfect for your pal who's drink of choice is coffee, Atlas Coffee Co. will mail fresh, gourmet coffee right to their doorstep every month. Pick between a three-, six- or 12-month subscription plan, each one complete with info on the bean's flavor profiles, postcards from their origin country and brewing recommendations so they can start each morning with a perfectly made cup of joe.
Price: Starts at $46
12. A Masterclass
For the Lifetime Learner: Masterclass
For your college roommate who loves becoming an expert in everything and anything, there’s Masterclass. The star-studded lecture series has been offering a variety of courses taught by successful athletes, actors, scientists, mixologists and more since 2015. Each course is divided up into 12 to 20 ten-minute long sessions and cover a variety of topics as the instructor moves through the lessons. Whether your pal wants to learn some acting skills from Natalie Portman or take a beginner cooking lesson from famous Chef Gordon Ramsay, the gift of a one-year membership means they can take unlimited classes.
13. A Makeup Subscription
For the Beauty Guru: Allure Beauty Box
It seems like every other day your sister in law texts you photos of her latest makeup obsession. She’s a great candidate, then, for a beauty subscription box, which will send her new products every single month. For the ultimate beauty buff, the Allure Beauty Box is a cut above. She’ll get deluxe- and full-size picks that are vetted by a team of experts, plus a mini mag with tips and step-by-step instructions on how to use the products.
Price: from $23 for one box
14. A Care Package Subscription
Best for the Overworked and Overstressed: Yellow Project Rest+Relax Care Package
Each of these sweet care packages includes carefully curated items intended to help take care of yourself emotionally, mentally and physically. Expect a mix of tips, activities and gifts that promote mindfulness, creativity and movement.
Price: from $40/month
15. A Streaming Service Membership
For the TV Fanatic: Disney+
This one is basically foolproof. Gifting a streaming service membership (we’re partial to Disney+ right now) means your nearest and dearest will never be without a TV show, miniseries or movie to entertain them. Easy peasy.
Price: from $7/month
16. A Cocktail Kit
For the Mixologist: Shaker & Spoon
Get boozy with it and give your friends's bar cart the face lift it needs. Every one of Shaker & Spoon's boxes comes filled to the brim with all of the necessities required to make tasty cocktails each month: bitters, syrups, garnishes, mixers, a recipe card and more. All they need to do is add their liquor of choice and voila, thirst-quenching drinks made from the comfort of their own home. We'll cheers to that!
Price: Plans start at $50
17. A National Parks Pass
For the Explorer: America the Beautiful Lands Pass
A fantastic option for the person in your life who seems to always be hiking, running and/or camping, the U.S. Geological Survey has a pass for entry to all of America’s 62 national parks. Valid for one full year, the America the Beautiful Lands Pass covers the pass’s owner and accompanying passengers in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle. Basically, your pal and their guests can drive one car into any National Park and get in gratis. Hopefully you’ll get invited along on an adventure or two.
18. A Wardrobe Update
For the Fashionista: Nuuly
Anthropologie, Free People and Urban Outfitters are some of their favorite places to shop, but we all know they can get pricey. That’s where Nuuly comes in. The subscription service allows you to rent six styles from the aforementioned stores’ many brands every month. Oh, and there’s free shipping and free returns, meaning there are no hidden fees.
Price: from $88/month
19. A Message from Their Favorite Celeb
For the Bravo Addict: Cameo
Cameo is an online service that allows you to buy personalized shout-outs from celebs and reality stars—ideal for your Bravo-obsessed coworker. The company has a roster of thousands of athletes, comedians and personalities to choose from, including Debra Messing, Billy Porter and tons of Bravo-lebrities. The stars set their own price per message, which can range from $10 to over $1,000, and you can request exactly what they say in their video.
Price: from $10
20. A Food Delivery
For the Anti-Chef: Goldbelly
Just because you can’t take them out to dinner IRL doesn’t mean you can’t treat them to a meal (and the opportunity to skip doing the dishes for one night). Goldbelly offers a mecca of different treats from across the country, with everything from famous NYC bagel joints to Chicago's iconic deep dish pizzas. Or, select from a variety of subscription boxes, cooking classes or care packages put together by top chefs that they (and their stomachs) will love. Bon appetit.
Price: from $10
21. A Luxury Shopping Membership
For the Bargain Shopper: Italic
Italic is a membership-based site that uses the same materials and manufacturers as your fave designer clothing, accessories and home goods...all served up at prices you can actually afford. Yes, you're paying a membership fee just so your friend can spend more money, but trust us, it's worth the savings they can score on luxe sunglasses, men's leather wallets and $30 leggings that are nearly identical to a pair from Alo Yoga.
22. An Audiobook Subscription
For the Book Nerd: Audible
One of our favorite gifts to receive is a good book. But our favorite gift to give is a book (or audiobook) subscription that allows grandma to choose what and when she wants to read. With Audible, you have the option to gift a membership for one month, three months, six months or one year, and if she already has a membership, you can send her credits to use on future book purchases. (Just make sure to send over this list of audiobooks that are even better than the print version.)
Price: from $15 for a 1-month subscription
23. A Book Subscription
For the Book Nerd, Part 2: Book of the Month
If your pal isn’t aboard the audiobook train, the OG book subscription company, Book of the Month, is ideal for them. Every month, a team of seasoned editors hand-picks five books (narrowed down from hundreds of new releases) and then sends you one that you’ll love (and sometimes a small gift is tucked inside, too).
Price: from $50 for a 3-month subscription
24. A Private Cooking Lesson
For the Person Who Picked Up Cooking During Quarantine: The Chef and the Dish
The Chef and the Dish is like inviting a chef into your kitchen to teach you how to cook, except entirely over Skype. The virtual private lessons are taught by pros and cover single dishes like pho, paella and fresh pasta. In general, each class costs $300 for two people, and you can add up to two more guests for $50 each, but you can choose your gift card amount starting at $50.
Price: starting at $50
25. A Home Décor Subscription
For the Pinterest Interior Designer: Art Crate
For anyone who just bought a new house, moved apartments or just happens to love a gallery wall, this service is for them. Art Crate will set your giftee up with a curator each month to select one piece of art for their space (and provide solid decorating advice). Choose a gift card amount, which can then be applied to four different month-to-month plans based on their preferred artwork size, budget and whether they want frames or not. If they're ever unhappy with a print, they offer a money back guarantee.
Price: starting from $20/month + shipping
26. A Spotify Membership
Best for the Music Lover: Spotify
Is there any situation that can't be made just a little bit better by a great playlist? We don't think so, and if there's someone in your life you think would agree, a Spotify subscription is a fabulous way to appeal to their musical side.