We’ve all been there: it’s just a few days before the man in red arrives and you’ve wrapped up all your gifts for the nearest and dearest. Then – shock! – you remember that distant cousin who’s also coming for Christmas. And the last post was delivered days ago.
Looking for a last-minute gift to save the festivities? You don’t need a Christmas miracle. And you certainly don’t need to risk another DIY present – not after your disastrous attempt at a homemade crockery set.
From subscriptions to experiences, each of the gifts below can be bought online and delivered almost instantly. Better yet, each one feels more thoughtful than any stocking-filler on offer at the petrol station.
Netflix UK gift card
Shopping for a serial streamer? You could spend several hours crafting a personalised watchlist full of bespoke suggestions better than anything the algorithm can come up with. But what if your binge-watcher has bad taste? Don’t risk ruining your own curated recommendations by going down a reality TV rabbit hole. For easier entertainment, deliver a Netflix gift card to their inbox. Then try to forget about the four seasons of Selling Sunset you accidentally enjoyed while sampling their favourite shows. You know, for ‘research purposes’.
Wax & Stamp gift subscription
Audiophiles are notoriously tricky to buy for. Pick the wrong grade of cable and they’ll go into a musical meltdown that leaves everyone with earache. Save yourself a sonic struggle with a gift subscription from Wax and Stamp. Your lucky listener will find a surprise vinyl EP and album on the doorstep of their harmonious home every month.Picked from an wide range of genres, each eclectic record set is designed to broaden their tastes via turntable – and comes accompanied by a letter explaining the selection.
Stuff Magazine subscription
If one thing is top of every gadget fan’s wish list, it’s more gadgets. Too late to buy a tech gift? Try the next best thing: a subscription to the world’s best-selling gadget magazine. Fully charged with tech news, gear reviews and the wittiest buying guides around, Stuff is a monthly compendium of all things cutting-edge. Plus it’s packed with puns, so it also counts as doing your English homework.
Adobe Creative Cloud Photography
Run out of camera-themed wrapping paper? For a photographic gift that needs no ribbon, add a Creative Cloud package to your dearest shutterbug’s editing workflow. At a tenner a month, Adobe’s Photography subscription is a stocking filler on repeat. The affordable bundle bags your darling snapper access to both Lightroom and Photoshop for tweaking their pics like a pro, plus 20GB of cloud storage to stash their finished snaps online.
Spotify Premium 12-month gift subscription
Having millions of tracks on-tap might seem like the ultimate free gift for music lovers, but nothing interrupts audio flow worse than an ill-timed ad. Mute the marketing with a Spotify Premium subscription: the paid upgrade banishes ads from the platform for total sonic immersion. Premium also unlocks high-quality streaming to please the keenest ears, plus unlimited skips, no travel limitations and the option to save playlists offline – perfect for maestros keen to take their mixing skills on the road.
Reckon a celebrity shoutout is peak Christmas cringe? Wait until your mate hears their childhood hero Mick Foley cutting a promo just for them. Not a fan of ageing wrestlers? From Harry Potter and Game of Thrones actors to olympians, politicians and one half of the Chuckle Brothers, you’ll find a surprising squad of familiar faces available to commission through Cameo. Simply pick a figure, send your request and stump up the broadly affordable fees. Within a day or two, you’ll have John Bercow yelling “order” at your disruptive sibling.
Rise Coffee Box gift subscription
Between early-morning excitement and late-lunch somnolence, it takes a lot of coffee to make it through the Christmas season. Buying for a full-time caffeine fiend? You could wrap up an industrial quantity of instant fuel to see them through ’til next December. Or for a year of better brews, gift them a Rise Coffee Box subscription. Sourced from a range of regions and roasters, two bags of speciality grounds or whole bean coffee will arrive every month, complete with tasting notes to help them make the most of their Joe.
Disney+ gift subscription
Many Disney flicks might be festive favourites, but the studio’s dedicated streaming service has content to keep you entertained throughout the year. From animated classics including Aladdin, Bambi and Cinderella to modern Marvel movies and smash-hit original series like The Mandalorian, there’s something on Disney+ to suit every sort of watcher – most of which is exclusive to the platform. And the presence of every Simpsons episode just about makes up for the Home Alone reboot.
Gaming gift cards
Wrapping up a games console could win you the biggest smile of Christmas. It could also spell game over for your bank balance. For a cheaper treat that’s still good fun, stick a gift card in a gamer’s (virtual) stocking. Whether you’re shopping for a Switch owner, buying for an Xbox button-basher or purchasing for a PlayStation player, there are instant digital vouchers available for every platform – from credit that can be redeemed against game downloads to annual subscriptions which unlock online play. Not sure which console is waiting under the tree? Cover all bases with a Game gift card.
Mubi gift subscription
The ultimate gift for cinephiles is a home cinema room with a masterful selection of excellent flicks. Leave them to work out the former while you take care of the latter: a Mubi gift subscription unlocks instant access to a constantly updated playlist of captivating films. More than that, it throws a spotlight on independent cinema, as well as diving deep with interviews, news and critique in its Notebook. Equal parts streaming service, cinema club and cultural curator, Mubi is the perfect present for viewers turned off by mainstream movies.
Gadget Discovery Club
Stuff is the ultimate gadget discovery club. But if your recipient is crippled by buying decisions, this is the next best thing: sign them up and they’ll receive a mystery bundle of four fresh gadgets per month – no checkout choice necessary. Simply select their level of tech awareness and let the Club’s curators do the rest. Boxes start at £63, but the stuff inside is always worth more – although don’t expect a GoPro every month.
Natural History Museum membership
Ross got a lot of stick for his fossilised hobby, but dinosaurs are far from dull. Shopping for a reptile expert? A gift membership from the Natural History Museum could be just the ticket for a jurassic lark. Besides free entry to premium exhibitions and access to exclusive events, members get to soar past door queues like a Pterodactyl with no sense of social etiquette. Which is sure to impress even the meanest of friends.
Wisdom is a priceless present. Trouble is, it’s tricky to stick in a gift box – unless your friend fancies some fortune cookies. For wise words with fewer crumbs, try a MasterClass membership: from Annie Leibovitz on photography to Metallica on music, the platform features countless classes lead by the biggest figures in their field. An annual subscription grants access to a vast catalogue of video tutorials. And with a cooking series lead by Gordon Ramsay, they could end up with some edible insight after all.
MeetSpaceVR gift card
A VR headset might help you escape the festive melee, but you can only go as far as the wires and walls allow. Want a more immersive virtual experience with your mates? Step into a Zero Latency room for free-roaming fun with up to seven friends. Players can redeem gift cards at three locations in the UK, where they’ll don untethered headsets and backpacks, before blasting through a range of games – including Far Cry VR.
BeerBods Beer Club Gift Subscription
Receiving a box of beers every other month is a fizzy treat for lager fans. But sharing the first sip with like-minded beer lovers will make it taste that much sweeter. Ship your sipper a single box or sign them up for up to a year of drinking discovery. Once they redeem their email code, they’ll start receiving packages every eight weeks. And they’ll want to keep Thursday evenings free: tales and tasting notes are circulated by email, before a simultaneous live tasting at 9pm.