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Amazon shopping hack lets you send gifts the sneaky way -- without an address

Amazon Prime members get a new perk ahead of the holiday season, a quick way to send gifts without digging around for a delivery address. We'll tell you how to do it, and what the catch is.

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We'll tell you how to send gifts on Amazon without knowing your family or friends' mailing address. 

Amazon

Have you ever wanted to ship a gift to a friend or family member, but you don't have their mailing address handy? A new Amazon shopping feature for Prime members takes out the guesswork, sleuthing and awkward, surprise-ruining conversation of asking for a friend or loved one's address when it comes time to send along a stealthy gift.

We love this idea, especially as the holidays come up and, along with them, opportunities to send along smaller presents to coworkers or family or friends who may have moved and whose address you don't have on file. Amazon says the new feature should now have rolled out to the majority of Amazon Prime customers, but there are a couple catches you'll want to know before you start -- so read up.

Amazon has also kicked off its "Black Friday-worthy" holiday deals. You can take a look at all the day's discounts at the Epic Deals section of Amazon's website or mobile app, or by asking your Alexa device, like an Echo or the Amazon mobile app, "Alexa, what are my deals?" (Here's another Amazon trick to save you money before Black Friday.)

Read more: This Amazon Prime perk ends soon. Here's what it means for your deliveries

Are there any limitations to sending Amazon gifts without an address?

Yes, here are the puzzle pieces needed to make this convenient shopping hack work. You must:

  • Be an Amazon Prime member.
  • Have the recipient's email address or mobile phone number.
  • Use the mobile app to send the gift without a specific shipping address. (The new shopping feature won't work with Amazon.com, only the mobile app.)
  • Ship and receive the gift to the continental US -- sorry, Hawaii and Alaska.

Important note: Note every gift itself is eligible. For example, we couldn't send the baby clothes we picked out for our colleague's newborn this way, but we were able to select a pair of $36 Amazon over-ear headphones to send along to a recipient without a physical address on hand.

How does the new Amazon Prime gift option work?

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This is what it looks like in your mobile Amazon app to select sending a gift to a recipient using just their email address or phone number.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

We'll share more details in the step-by-step below, but in general, as the gift-giver you just have to send a gift receipt and select the new delivery option. The recipient will then be notified to accept the gift by providing their address. If they decide to not accept the gift, they can exchange it for an Amazon gift card. Amazon says it won't tell the person who picked out the gift if the recipient chooses a gift card instead. 

How to send a gift on Amazon without knowing the recipient's address

If you just picked out a gift for your family member or friend on Amazon, here's how you can send it to them through text or email:

1. Add the gift to your cart using Amazon's mobile app.

2. Tap Add a gift receipt for easy returns and then tap Proceed to checkout.

3. Once at checkout, select the option to Let the recipient provide their address and tap Continue.

4. Enter the recipient's phone number or email address. This is where you can also add a custom message sent alongside your gift. You can also select gift wrapping at this stage. (Note that this typically costs another $5 for an Amazon gift bag.)

5. Place your order by clicking Continue. The recipient will then be notified and asked to accept the gift.

How to accept an Amazon gift 

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You can unwrap your Amazon gifts virtually. 

Amazon

If you have been sent a gift through Amazon, here's how to accept it (or get a gift card instead):

1. Click on the text or email notification from Amazon and tap View and accept your gift.

2. Tap on your present to unwrap it and watch an animation of your gift being revealed.

3. Once you've virtually unwrapped your gift, you can choose to Accept and provide an address or Exchange for an Amazon gift card.

4. If you choose to accept the gift, you will be prompted to provide your delivery address. After you enter your address, tap Deliver to this address and then Accept the gift

5. Amazon will then ship your gift to you with free Prime shipping. 

For more, check out this Amazon Prime perk that's ending soon and Amazon grocery delivery services that can save you time and money.