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Welcome, everyone, to Procrastinator's Anonymous. I'm Rick, self-appointed group leader, and I'm here to help you cope with this year's Gift Procurement Postponement Situation (or GPPS).
As I write this, it's December 21, meaning you're juuust about out of time to get something shipped. (Here are the holiday shipping deadlines, just in case.) So why not support your friendly neighborhood small business? Bet you can find some great last-minute gifts there.
Of course, as the clock clicks closer to December 25, your retail options grow smaller. Thankfully, as long as there's ink in the printer (and, um, internet in the computer), you can score something great -- even with just minutes left before gift-exchange time.
Here, then, is my list of the best last-minute gifts you can print at home or email from anywhere.
The gift of reading
Why stop at a single book or magazine subscription when you can gift someone a virtually unlimited supply?
Texture, for example, is an all-you-can-read digital magazine service that gives you unlimited access to most major mags. You'll get over 200 of them, including back issues. Apps are available for Android, iOS and Windows. And there's a great promotion running right now: three months for $10. This time a year ago, that would cost $35.
Interestingly, Ebates is currently offering a $10 rebate from Texture, bringing your net cost down to $0. Talk about a cheap gift! (My guess is you can probably leverage that option just once, though.)
There's a similar option for your favorite book lover: Scribd costs $9.99 per month, a price that includes three books, one audiobook and unlimited access to Scribd's library of sheet music, magazine and news articles and more. You can give a three-month gift subscription for $25.
2. The gift of listening
If you know someone who still consumes music old-school -- CDs, individual song and album purchases and so forth -- it's time to introduce them to the joys of unlimited on-demand listening.
In other words, give them the gift of Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Napster, Spotify or another music-subscription service. Purists may decry this notion of "renting" music and balk at the idea of paying $10 a month for the rest of their lives -- right up until they experience the bliss of having all the music of the world at their fingertips. They'll probably also realize they're already on the hook for cable, phone and other streaming services -- so what's another $10?
Not sure which one to choose? Check out CNET's recently updated roundup of music-streaming services.
3. The gift of gaming
Stop thinking old-school when it comes to computer games: You don't need to find a store, buy a boxed copy, wrap it and all that. Instead, you can gift a game by email.
Just head to Gamer's Gate, choose the game you want to give and click Gift This Game below the Buy button. Or hit up Steam, add a game to your shopping cart and then click Purchase as a gift. The recipient will receive a download link and activation code by email.
Need some ideas? Gamer's Gate currently has a bunch of Assassin's Creed games on sale, while Steam is offering the Resident Evil Deluxe Origins Bundle for $18.39.
4. The gift of Prime
At the risk of sounding like an Amazon shill, I can think of few better internet-based gifts than a subscription to Amazon Prime. I mean, talk about the gift that keeps on giving. For an entire year, the recipient gets to experience the joy that is free two-day shipping on most of what Amazon sells.
But that's just for starters. They also get a growing roster of streaming movies and TV shows (many of which can be) along with and libraries of music and ebooks. That's a lot of bang for your 99 bucks. (Too steep? There's also a three-month option priced at $33.)
5. The gift of gift cards
Sure, you can run into your nearest any-retail-store-on-the-planet to grab a gift card, but that works only if you're about to see your recipient in person. If you need a gift card delivered, head to eGifter, which offers a huge selection of "cards" that arrive instantly via email. You can even include an online greeting card, invite others to chip in and add a photo or video for a more personalized touch.
Oh, and don't forget the subscription-box option! Cratejoy's Geek & Gaming section can help you pick the perfect monthly delivery for your favorite tech-minded friend or family member and has boxes for lots of other categories as well.
6. The gift of television
Here's a last-minute addition, courtesy of The Cheapskate: Cord-cutter's friend Hulu is currently offering a $20 Visa gift card when you sign up for at least two months of service. Assuming you choose the Limited Commercials option at $7.99 per month, you'll actually come out $4 ahead. This might be a little tricky to gift but, hey, you'll figure it out.
And there you have it! Six awesome gift options that you can print and wrap (or email) in seconds. If you know of any other great last-minute gifts, share 'em in the comments. In the meantime, happy holidays to you and yours from me and mine.