This year, we’re recommending presents that are just as satisfying without the wrapping
Tis the season of giving, baby! Except this year, thanks to the fabled supply chain issues, it might be more difficult to get all the toys and trinkets needed to please everyone. That is why we have focused our 2021 holiday shopping guide on digital gifts: immaterial, intangible, and, dare I say, metaphysical.
The wonders of technology have allowed for a new world full of fun and practical presents for all ages. For shoppers, this means no wasteful wrapping paper, no long lines at the mall, and no leaving the comfort of your home (it’s cold out there!). So pour up some eggnog, plug in your laptop, and let’s get this Christmas party started.
Classes & Tutorials
Knowledge is the gift that keeps on giving — or so says those cheerful posters in every elementary school classroom. These days, it’s incredibly easy to learn just about anything online.
For the artsy types, Domestika offers single courses on everything from sewing to photography to interior design that cost less than a smoked Christmas ham. Any avid gamers in the family? Get them an e-sports coaching session on Gamer Sensei. Coaches will give tips and tricks that will help them secure those Ws. Or perhaps you’re buying for a curious person with a short attention span. In that case, you can’t go wrong with a Masterclass subscription — over 100 classes by the best of the best in all different disciplines.
Gone are the simple days when everyone just watched Netflix. Now, we’re gobbling up entire seasons of shows faster than Santa can finish his milk and cookies. Thankfully, there are also far more options available for streaming services. This is the kind of practical gift that keeps on giving, all year long. Do they like reality TV? Try Hayu. Cult classics and art films? Criterion Channel, hands down. If they have an interest in a more niche or independent content creator, their work can likely be found on Substack or Patreon.
Quick note: this isn’t the best gift idea for any of your more technologically-advanced friends. They’re probably just illegally torrenting everything already.
Instagram-obsessed style icons, It-girls, and fashionistas, this one’s for you. We can all agree that fast fashion is passé, right? Poorly constructed clothes made of non-biodegradable fabrics are a bad look, especially if those clothes are only worn once for the gram. But what if there was a way to keep up with the turbo-speed trend cycles without filling up the landfill?
Look no further than Dressx, your new favourite online boutique. Fashion designers and 3D artists work together to create virtual clothes. They’re serving disco mermaid chic, floral flapper realness, and everything in between. Just submit a photo that follows the guidelines and boom: new outfit. Be honest — they were only going to wear it for the pic anyway.
Got any superfans on your list? On Cameo, athletes, musicians, reality show stars, and everything in between offer customized video shout-outs. For $256 you could buy a friend their own Island Boys verse (worth every penny in my opinion). Carol Baskin, cat lady extraordinaire, will toss a “Hey cool cats and kittens” your way for $316. Cheaper options are also available if you do a little digging or are willing to pick a less popular public figure.
Want to spend exactly zero dollars and still make your mom cry happy tears? All it takes is a little planning and some computer skills. Why not get together with your siblings and pets and recreate the nativity scene? Or perhaps enlist your uncles to play the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future in a family version of A Christmas Carol?
On Christmas Day, after the adrenaline of unwrapping all those presents wears off, a personalized video or slideshow is the perfect thing to put up on the TV for guaranteed laughs. And if you’re running short of time, you can always rely on ElfYourself — a classic.
There’s no better gift than the warm, fuzzy feeling of helping someone less fortunate. They may have said they wanted a PS5, but trust us, this will be better. Making a donation in the name of your loved one is an excellent way to share the holiday spirit.
Consider sponsoring a child in need through Save the Children. Your donation will help the child to grow and prosper, and your loved one will receive photos, updates on the child’s well-being, and the opportunity to write letters back and forth.
Another fun charitable gift is a Kiva card. Your loved one can use it to make micro-loans to borrowers around the world. The loans are eventually repaid and can then be withdrawn or sent off to someone else in need.
Cryptocurrency is basically the digitized version of the handful of scratch-and-wins your uncle would toss in your stocking. Sorry! The markets are volatile and does anyone actually understand how it works? But maybe, just maybe, that $15 worth of Shiba Inu coin could one day make you a very rich little elf. The pleasure lies within the unknown.
Neither the Martlet nor the author has received any compensation for recommending these products. All opinions are the author’s own. Go forth, click “Add to Cart,” and prosper. Happy holidays!