In prior years, if you needed a last-minute gift, you might run out to the store and brave the crowds, but in this year of pandemic, that’s not a good idea. Besides, it might not even be safe or practical to visit your giftee in person. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to buy and deliver last-second gifts that arrive instantly, via email, even on Christmas day. 

The easiest, but least thoughtful, thing you can do is either send money or buy an Amazon.com gift card, which is almost as universal as cash. But a better idea is to purchase a digital gift that speaks to your giftee’s love of PCs, maker gear or gaming. Here are some digital gift ideas for the tech enthusiasts in your life.

1. Newegg Gift Card

Though it sells everything from crock pots to clothing, Newegg is known for having the best selection and often the best prices for computer components. With Amazon credit, your giftee may end up buying non-tech stuff like toilet paper or cat litter, but if you give them a Newegg card, they’ll almost certainly use it to treat themselves to new hardware or software.

 2. Adafruit gift card / Adabox

Adafruit Gift Certificate

(Image credit: Adafruit)

If your giftee loves doing electronics projects with Raspberry Pi, Arduino or other single-board computers — and if they don’t, they should start — a gift certificate from Adafruit could be your best option. Not only does Adafruit stock all the major computers and controllers — every version of Raspberry Pi, for example — but it also has an entire universe of add-on boards, RGB light setups, robot kits and more. The company is not just a seller: as most of its custom boards and accessories are manufactured in its New York City-based factory. The company’s Braincraft HAT won our Raspberry Pi accessory of the year for 2020.

If you buy an Adafruit gift certificate, you can also feel good about supporting this amazing business. Founded in 2005 by Limor “Ladyada” Fried, Adafruit employs over 100 people and is dedicated to helping everyone learn more about STEM. The site has a vibrant community and over 1,000 tutorials to help you do everything from creating an LED sign to soldering or designing RGB clothes. 

You can also give a subscription to Adabox, which is a blind box filled with everything you need to build an electronics project and comes out quarterly. 

3. Digital Game Store Gift Card 

No matter what platform your giftee plays on, there’s an associated digital store with downloadable games. PC Gamers will almost certainly find something they love in the Steam store. For console players, get a card for the PlayStation Store, the XBox or the Nintendo eShop, depending on what system they use. Most cards start at $10, but I recommend spending at least $20, the cost of many lower price games. 

4.  Minecraft Game or Minecoins

Minecoins

(Image credit: Amazon)

Minecraft is a huge hit with kids from five to fifty. The game lets you explore and create worlds filled with 8-bit adventure and you can even use it to learn about programming. The game itself is available on every platform you can imagine, even the phone, but if your giftee already has it, consider getting Minecoins. Minecoins are used to buy all kinds of add-ons within the game. 

 5. Individual Games 

Games

(Image credit: Amazon and Microsoft)

 If you know what games your giftee wants and is likely to play, you can buy them a direct download. Here are some ideas for PC gamers. 

 6. Streaming subscriptions 

Whether it’s music or movies, there’s nothing quite like the gift of content. Here are some services you can buy.

 7. Online game services 

Sure, your giftee has a powerful game system with lots of games, but do they have the subscription they need to play online and broadcast streams? Here are some subscriptions that can help them. Unfortunately, the best offerings here are primarily for console gamers. 

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