You’ve probably noticed that Christmas is just around the corner, and if you’re anything like me… you’re panicking.
A mixture of not wanting to venture outside in the current climate (both pandemic and weather) and being just that distracted by a million emails and spreadsheets, I still need to buy presents for some key people.
The answer is: gift cards. Wait, wait, wait… it’s different now. You can buy loads of different things that people are really into, and we’ve been taking a look at what kind of gift certificates are perfect for slipping into a stocking or bulking out the card that you attach to the actual present.
What we’re suggesting here are either excellent choices that you can use as a ‘big present’ or things that will augment your giftee’s tech life: if they’ve got a smart TV, get them a Netflix subscription.
Finally found a PS5 restock? A PlayStation voucher gives you PS Plus options, or a new game or service to allow them to do even more with what they’ve got.
Even better, most of the options below include flexibility in terms of the amount you want to to gift, which is great if you want something small, or go all out. So, including Netflix, PlayStation, and Audible gift cards, here are the best Christmas voucher gifts you should consider this year – but sadly, we can’t do much about the fact you can’t take of the price to make it seem like you spent more.
Amazon Gift Card
If you’re stuck wondering what would make the perfect gift for that cousin you know very little about, an Amazon gift card (UK here and Australia here) is an easy, they-can-buy-basically-anything choice.
You can create a wishlist of choices you think they might like if you want to give them some ideas to get started, but ultimately they’ll probably just cash it in and forget about it, getting a lovely little surprise when they go to buy a new set of dishcloths and get them for free.
We would suggest leaning on a number of the Amazon devices – for instance, the Fire TV Stick Lite is down to just $19.99 /£14.99 at the time of writing – the record price for the device in the UK, and $2 off the best in the US.
I’d say to just buy them that – it’ll probably still get there in time for Christmas, depending on your territory – but they might want a 4K stick, like the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, so you’ll just annoy them.
Go for the gift certificate option and you can select the amount you wish to spend and Amazon gives you a number of options for delivery; you can send it via email, text, or any messaging service that you have installed on your phone or tablet.
I had someone who (boringly) asked for an Amazon gift card this year – so I got a physical one delivered to make sure he had something to open, but you can also print your own at home.
Cinemark Gift card
This one is for the US-dwelling lovers of the movies out there, with the popular movie offering two decent choices for the Cinemark gift card – we’ve spent enough time inside streaming Tiger King, and being out and about again (when this pesky new wave dies down) is a great gift for a tech lover.
The first is the standard gift card – you can buy it in $25, $35, £50, $65 or $75 values, or just enter your own amount to make it simpler. The recipient can then spend it on all manner of things in the cinema – tickets, then a hotdog, then overpriced confectionary… you can tot it all up and make sure you buy them an experience that gets them everything they want from start to finish.
If you want to go for a really cool gift though, how about helping them hire out a whole auditorium with up to 20 pals? For $99, you can get a Cinemark Private Watch Party to treat someone you love – and you can also just buy smaller amounts to help them get there if $99 is a bit steep.
PlayStation Gift Card
OK, so someone near and dear to you has managed to nab a shiny new PS5, and while you’ll justifiably want to not buy them a present in retribution against their luck, don’t be that person.
Nearly any of these options on this list would be useful for a PlayStation owner, but going for a PlayStation gift certificate just brings so many more options.
It will be extremely useful for owners of the cheaper, discless PS5, too, but it’s still a great gift even if they haven’t picked up the brand new box.
A PlayStation gift card can be put towards games, a PS Plus membership that brings goodies like free monthly games, cloud saves, and the PS Plus collection on PS5, and Sony’s answer to Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation Now. They can be gifted in $20, $50, and $100 increments (£10-£90).
Google Play Gift Card
A Google Play gift card is an excellent choice for an Android-owning friend or family member. You can use your Google Play balance to buy books, movies or music from the Google Play Store or if you’ve had your eye on one of the best Android apps but have been reluctant to fork out the cash, a Google Play gift card could well be your answer.
But it’s far from only Android users that can get the benefit, as you can use your Google purchases on an iPhone or smart TV if it supports the app – however, you can’t easily redeem your card compared to an Android device, which is basically every second person on the street these days.
You can pick up a Google Play gift card in brick-and-mortar stores or online retailers (UK is here) and, as with most other gift cards on this list, you’ll have a choice of exactly how much you’d like to spend.
Netflix Gift Card
It seems that everyone has a Netflix subscription these days or, at the very least, has access to some sort of entertainment streaming service.
But if you know someone who’s missing out on binge-watching Squid Game (warn them first), The Queen’s Gambit or another of the best Netflix shows, then a Netflix gift card is a good way to go to help them with the monthly cost and give them the gift of great TV shows and movies.
You can choose to buy online or in-store and both choices have the option of picking an amount that you feel comfortable with. Once the code is redeemed, the amount will show up on that account as a balance which will be used against future subscription renewals.
If you choose to buy online, you’ll be prompted for the recipient’s email address but don’t worry about ruining any surprises – you can choose the date that the email is sent.
In today’s busy world, you don’t always have the time – or inclination – to curl up with your favorite book after a hard day at work, so an Audible gift card is a solid choice for the avid reader in your life.
There is a vast library of audiobooks to choose from across every conceivable genre. And the beauty of Audible is that you receive one book per month of membership and you have the freedom to listen on your drive to work or while out on a walk.
Audible works a little differently to other gift options on this list. You can choose to gift an Audible subscription (here’s the link for UK) of anything from 1 month to 12 months or, if the intended recipient already has an active subscription, you can choose to gift them a specific book – or books – instead.
Spotify Gift Card
For the music lovers in your family, the gift of Spotify Premium is a solid choice. While the free Spotify offering is adequate, real music fans will appreciate the features that Premium gives you, such as uninterrupted, ad-free listening as well as allowing you to download songs and playlists and listen to them anywhere.
As with any gift card that is purchased via Paypal, you’ll need the recipient’s email address though you’ll be able to choose the date that the email is actually sent. And if Paypal isn’t an option for you, there shouldn’t be a problem grabbing a gift card from one of the big retailers where you are. It’s a popular one.
Nintendo eShop Gift Card
If you’re looking for a gift for someone who enjoys the freedom that handheld gaming provides, you can’t go far wrong with a Nintendo eShop gift card.
The recipient will be able to choose from a growing library of game titles to enjoy on their Nintendo Switch. And the good news is that you can redeem the card on older Nintendo consoles too, such as the 3DS or even the Wii U.