With iTunes you can send a song, an album, TV show, movie or virtual mix-tape with just a few clicks. The recipient gets an elegant email and, within minutes, has access to the digital goodies you sent. If you want to deliver the gift in person, select the print option for a hardcopy. You can even post an iTunes online gift to someone’s Facebook wall if you’d prefer. Pricing starts at about $5.
Have a movie lover in your life? Give them a gift subscription to Netflix and they can enjoy movies and TV shows instantly, as often as they want, on any PC or Mac. Of course, your recipient will still be able to get DVDs delivered in about a day by mail. Pricing starts at about $9.
What do you get for the person who has everything? Perhaps a loan that could change a life. Kiva’s global, person-to-person, micro-lending website allows your gift recipient to directly support a deserving entrepreneur. Pricing for electronic gift certificates starts at $25.
Also, consider sending an animal e-card with your donation information from Heifer International.
Similarly, to support Episcopal Relief & Development, try this.
Though not for everyone, virtual gifts are increasingly popular with anyone who’s a regular on Facebook. With Facebook Gifts, you can offer a limited edition virtual gifts, songs that can be played immediately and e-cards. , Charity gifts allow your virtual good to support a real cause with hard cash. Pricing starts at about $1 and you’ll need to buy Facebook Credits that run 10 for $1.
Know someone still looking for love? Get them a gift subscription to Match.com. Oddly, you can’t order gift subscriptions online but you can setup your friend or loved-one by calling 1 (888) 838-9045 toll-free from 8am to 8pm, CST 7 days a week. Pricing starts at about $30 a month.
Alternatively, give a coupon to help your friend or family member set up a free account (see custom coupons, next).
Want a gift that’s low-cost and full-of-love? Offer a custom coupon for a hug, or breakfast in bed, or a car wash. Or, come up with your own offering using a blank coupon. Pricing: free!
Have a foodie in your life? Give them a year-long gift membership to Zagat.com and they’ll have access to over 40,000 Zagat ratings and reviews for restaurants, nightspots, hotels and attractions around the world. And, when they’re on-the-go, they’ll also have access via mobile phones at ZAGAT.mobi. Pricing starts at $24.95.
Want a virtual gift that will delight a child (and his or her parents)? SecretBuilders is a safe, fun and educational virtual world for kids aged 6 to 14. Children can explore virtual lands, play learning games, go on quests and interact with famous real and fictional characters. While the service is overwhelmingly free, kids (with the help of adults) can purchase virtual currency to use throughout the world.
Have a friend or family member who loves going to the movie theater? Send them “Fandango Bucks” in a personalized e-card and they can enjoy the megaplex immediately. Pricing starts at $10.
Shopping for a magazine-lover? Get them a subscription or renewal and you can immediately print a free, customizable gift card for a personal touch. Pricing starts at around $10.
Still uncertain what to get? Maybe a gift certificate is the right call after all. Amazon’s gift certificate’s can be customized with more than 50 designs and emailed or printed immediately. And, if you’re really far behind, you can use the bulk buy feature to email gifts to 15 or more folks. Pricing starts at $5.
Omar Wasow is a Ph.D. Candidate in African and African American Studies, and has an A,M. in Government from Harvard University. He was the co-founder of BlackPlanet.com. Follow him on Twitter.