Last minute gifts under $20 (that aren’t iTunes gift cards)

Sections: Features, Gift Guide, Originals

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give a giftIt’s Christmas Eve, and you need a last minute gift. Granted, you could go online, or to just about any store, supermarket, or gas station and get an iTunes gift card (or cards for just about any other electronic store or restaurant). But what if you want to do something different; put a little thought into your last-minute gift? Then consider these options:

Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator lets you give at Christmas, and lets your recipient give as well. Via print-out or email, you can select an amount (from $10 to $250), which they can use to donate to the charity of their choice, using the Charity Navigator to search for a cause they support (and get information and ratings about the groups budget and effectiveness).


2010 was a big year for digital downloads on OS X. Blizzard sells World of Warcraft as a digital download (for $20) as well as the game’s expansions (for more than your humble correspondent’s cutoff price).

But the big news was that Valve brought Steam to Mac, selling games like Left 4 Dead 2 and Team Fortress 2 and Counter-Strike 2. But beyond the high-end games, Valve also sells indie games like World of Goo as well.

Netflix Gift Subscription

Speaking of online entertainment, Netflix had a big year with their Watch Instantly service, signing several lucrative deals to bring movies and TV to your home via broadband. No longer billing themselves as a company that mails DVDs, but as a streaming video company that also mails DVDs, they also introduced their streaming-only plan, meaning you can give unlimited streaming video for just $7.99 a month. And the best part is that whether you choose streaming-only or a plan that includes DVDs, your gift recipient can start watching, well, instantly, using their computer, iOS device, AppleTV, or other streaming device like Roku, if they already own one.

Give a specific app

Gift certificates are nice because the person can buy whatever he wants. But the downside is that they don’t require any thought, and I firmly believe that it is the thought that counts. So instead of giving them a gift card, why not give a specific app?

In the iTunes store, just click on the arrow next to the Buy App button, and you’ll get the ability to give that specific app as a gift.

itunes gift purchase

Yes, it works with Angry Birds, too.

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