A woman receiving a digital gift on a smartphone

As Christmas approaches, so does the inevitable stress of gift buying. On top of finding presents for your loved ones, there’s always one person you forget.

Whether they’re an unexpected addition to the family party or you simply want an extra treat for your friends, you may need to quickly source an additional gift.

You don’t have to sacrifice quality when buying presents on short notice. If you need a thoughtful gift you can purchase without braving the freezing weather, look no further than one of these brilliant digital gifts.

1. Subscription boxes

For a present that keeps on giving, sign your loved ones up for a subscription box.

Every month, a themed package will arrive at their front door so they can unwrap gifts all year round. Foodies can enjoy healthy Graze snacks or gin from the Craft Gin Club, or you can brighten someone’s day with flowers from Bloom & Wild.

From sweet treats to books to self-care, there’s a subscription box for every member of the family.

2. Streaming services

With more streaming services than ever before, treat your loved ones with access to their favourite shows and films. There are plenty of streaming services you can choose from, including:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Disney+
  • HBO
  • Paramount+
  • BritBox
  • Apple TV

Each platform has a lineup of exciting new content coming out as well as a backlog of old classics, so there’s something for everyone’s tastes.

3. Audio and ebooks

If you need to buy a present for a bookworm, gifting them audio or ebooks is the perfect way to show you care on short notice. Choose a book in their favourite genre and let them download the story straight to their phone or tablet.

If you aren’t sure what they like to read, you could also sign them up for a service like Audible, which has a huge collection of audiobooks for them to choose from.

4. Experiences

Sometimes a day out is better than any material gift. Booking your friends and family onto an activity can be a great way to bond and gives them something exciting to look forward to. You can use sites like Groupon to find great deals on experiences ranging from winetasting to driving supercars.

You can now also gift your loved ones a message from a celebrity! You can find famous faces such as John Barrowman and Sean Astin on Cameo, a site where you can pay celebrities to record personalised videos.

5. Gift cards

Gift cards are the ideal last-minute gift. You can personalise them to your loved ones’ tastes, or choose generic ones for the acquaintances or picky giftees that are harder to buy presents for.

Help your family with their bills with gift cards for shops such as Aldi, Morrisons or Asda, or treat your friends to something they love: for example, gaming gift cards for teenagers, restaurants for a lovely evening out, or even Airbnb gift cards for the people who deserve a holiday.

6. Tickets

Is there a film your children or grandchildren are excited to see? A brilliant musical or play touring in your city? Or a concert for your friend’s favourite artist?

Treating your loved ones with tickets to an event they’ve been dying to attend is a brilliant way to surprise someone this holiday season. Even if the event is a few months away, the build-up of anticipation will make the thrill of a once in a lifetime experience even better.

7. Memberships

If you’re struggling to buy a gift for the person who has everything, consider paying for a membership in their name instead. There are hundreds of memberships out there, so it won’t be hard to find one that fits their interests.

For example, you could give your family member a National Art Pass, which gives them free entry to museums across the country. Or you could help your friends achieve their New Year’s resolutions by paying for a gym pass or National Trust membership.

8. Food

If you need a thoughtful gesture for the busy people in your life, why not arrange for groceries to be delivered to their front door? Services like Hello Fresh deliver prepared ingredients to your house, along with instructions on how to cook delicious and nutritious meals.

You could also offer to pay for someone’s takeaway as a treat. Delivery services such as Deliveroo offer a premium plan that removes the delivery fee and provides great deals from restaurants and supermarkets, so your friends and family can order their shopping and takeaways for a discounted price.

9. Subscription services

Similar to paying for your loved one’s streaming services, you can also pay for subscriptions to websites and apps that can improve their lives.

For example, you can remove ads by upgrading your friends to YouTube or Spotify Premium, encourage your children or grandchildren to learn a new skill through Masterclass, or give your family members the gift of endless books with Kindle Unlimited.

10. Charitable donations

Celebrate the Christmas spirit by donating to a charity in your loved one’s name. Helping a cause they care about – for example, adopting an animal in your local zoo or planting a tree – can be a touching gift to the kind people in your life.