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How many times do we see on Facebook that, oops, that friend back home who just brought you a wicked-cool Union Jack T-shirt from her trip abroad turned 21 today? Or your brother-in-law who lives in his parent’s basement is turning 42, and as much as you hate to admit it, he orders you the best gifts online?
Avoid that rush to Target for a giftcard! Thanks to the lovely invention of the Internet, gift-giving can be instant on both the buyer’s side and recipient’s end.
Wrapp.com connects with your Facebook page, so it lists everyone with upcoming birthdays right on the home screen. From there you can send them gift cards to both online stores — like shoe store zappos.com or novelty t-shirt store threadless.com — and companies like Omaha Steaks and Gap. Gift cards at $10 are free to send, making that Sephora giftcard the cheapest gift ever, but unless the sender contributes to the value of the card, it will expire in 30 days. Another downside to Wrapp is the lack of variety; there are only 15 US companies available, and most of the cards are for online shopping (apparently there’s an Angry Birds Store), and the giftcards to physically existing stores have to be opened on the Wrapp.com app for smartphones to be used.
For a more extensive selection of gift cards, Gift Card Lab sells everything from online gift cards to stores like Bath and Body Works and Visa cards. Although there are more cards to choose from, they only come in $25 increments and are physically sent to the recipient rather than emailed. The greeting card the gift card is sent in costs $1.95 automatically, however, and when was the last time you saw a decent card at Hallmark for less than $3?
If you have absolutely no idea what kind of gift card to send, American Express, MasterCard and Visa offer prepaid cards that can be used anywhere their credit cards are available. Amazon and iTunes also have gift certificates sendable by email.
For those more interested in philanthropy, Kiva offers a way of giving people gifts that they use over an over again by investing in starting companies in poverty-stricken countries, who in return pay back the money so you can invest in other businesses. My aunt and uncle sent my me and my sister Kiva cards for Christmas four years ago, and we’ve used the money over and over again to sponsor a wedding planner in Iraq, a baby goods vendor in Rwanda and a shoemaker in Botswana. As cliché as it sounds, it’s definitely a gift that keeps on giving.
Sometimes a gift isn’t in order, but a card is. And sometimes the recipient has just as twisted a sense of humor as the giver. That’s why Someecards exist (other than just for Pinterest and procrastination purposes). They have great pre-made ones, but if you want to go a step further, their create-your-own feature can help create cards that’ll keep them laughing for days…or at least until they can’t see it on their Facebook wall anymore. Example A:
Warning: once you’ve made your own Someecard, you can’t stop. Exhibit B:
Other free ecard sites (that aren’t as cool but are for the less-humorous recipient) include 123 Greetings, egreetings.com and American Greetings. Be aware, however, that sometimes “free ecards” mingle with ones that aren’t so light on the wallet.
Happy last-minute gift-giving!
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