Forgotten someone important? The best last-minute Christmas gift ideas can be bought online and delivered almost instantly. Better yet, each one feels more thoughtful than anything you can pick up at the petrol station.
From subscriptions to gift cards, we’ve rounded up our top instant presents in the list below – each capable of saving the festivities at the eleventh hour. And each less disastrous than any DIY gift you might try to rustle up on Christmas Eve.
Still got time for Prime? We’ve also picked out a range of festive favourites which you can order from Amazon for next-day delivery.
Netflix 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 three seasons of Love Is Blind 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: this 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.
Bier club membership
Picking up the bar tab is a great way to spread the merriment, but you can’t send a pint by email. Get your round in digitally with a Bier club membership, available to buy for 1, 3, 6 or 12 months. Each month, 8 craft beers from 8 different breweries will land at your door, ready to be consumed right away or on 1 February, for those planning to kick start 2024 with a dry January.
Cowspiracy. Seaspiracy. Our Planet. A Netflix subscription unlocks access to all sorts of eco documentaries. Want a monthly membership that actively addresses the situation? Climeworks fights climate change by removing CO₂ from the atmosphere, using modular machines which filter air to capture harmful emissions for storage or safe re-use.