We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.


Don't have time to make it to the shops? These digital gifts may help you out

And you won’t have to wrap them either so win-win.

IF YOU DON’T have time to go to the shops, shipping times rules out physical gifts if you want to have it ready for Christmas Day.

All is not lost though. Quite a number of services and sites allow you to buy digital gifts and there’s enough out there to help save your skin should you be running out of ideas (or run out of wrapping paper).

Subscriptions for their favourite services

One of the easier gifts to get someone, a few months subscription of a service they love (or are using for free) is a nice way to bridge the gap. For example, Spotify offers e-cards which allow 1, 3, 6 or 12-month subscriptions of Spotify Premium.

If you know someone who takes a lot of photos, maybe extra storage space on Dropbox or Google Drive might help them.


If you know what type of phone they have, then it’s possible to send an app as a gift which they’ll receive on the day.

iOS users can gift users an app directly by finding it in the store and tapping the share button. A gift option will appear underneath where you can choose the day they get it, a personal message and the theme for your gift. The same thing can be done for movies, books and music through the iTunes store

Currently, there’s no way to send apps as a gift for Android users so the best thing is to send them a gift card instead. It’s an indirect way of doing this but if you’re really determined to buy them something, it will work.

iOS Gift idea App Store App Store


Since it’s very likely your recipient has a smartphone or tablet, buying a book or two through Amazon Kindle is pretty easy. All you have to do is tick a box underneath ‘add to cart’ and it will be treated as one.

Alternatively, you can get them a subscription to Audible, one of the larger audiobook companies out there. Through its Gift Subscription service, you can get 3, 6 or 12-month subscriptions whichis useful if they commute a lot and don’t have the time to sit down and read.

Audible Audible Audible


With more titles available digitally, it’s easier to buy one remotely than ever before, and there’s a vast collection of new and retro games available online.

The only thing you need to be aware of is which service you’re buying from. Services like Steam allow gift options while others like Playstation Network don’t, meaning you will either have to get access to their account or get a gift card so the person can pay and download it themselves. It’s annoying so check first before you commit to an idea.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch
PC, Mac, Linux PS3, PS4

If you remember the Giant Chicken sketches on Animaniacs – and even for those who don’t – you’ll enjoy Octodad. Controlling the title character is as awkward as you would expect and the end result is an incredibly funny game.

GamesHQMedia / YouTube

Child of Light
PS3, PS4 PS Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, PC

Ubisoft has created a magnificent fairy tale that’s both beautiful and fun to play. Great characters, engaging combat and a lovely art style means it will stick in your mind long after you’ve played it.

GamesHQMedia / YouTube

Broken Age
PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, PS Vita, iOS

Anyone who wants to hark back to the days of classic point and click adventures will love Broken Age. From Tim Schafer (the brains behind Monkey Island and Grim Fandango), it tells the tale of two characters, Vella and Shay, who take part in seemingly unconnected stories but form part of a larger narrative.

The first Act is out now while the second part is expected to arrive early next year.

gamespot / YouTube

Papers, Please
PC, Mac, Linux, iOS

It’s rare that you recommend a game that becomes stressful, but theaward winning Papers, Please is an essential buy. Taking the role of a border-control clerk, you have to inspect the papers of those trying to enter the fictional country of Arstotzka. Each choice becomes bleaker as you confront moral dilemmas which only grow in scale as you progress.

dukope1 / YouTube

Retro Games

If the person you’re buying for was playing PC games in the 80s, 90s and 00s, then you can get them a classic game from that period. While Steam is a good choice for PC gamers, another good site for these is which has a large collection of retro and contemporary games such as:

X-Wing vs Tie Fighter
The Secret of Monkey Island
Sam and Max hit the Road
Cannon Fodder
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
Broken Sword Series
Dungeon Keeper series
Theme Park and Theme Hospital
System Shock 2
Beyond Good and Evil

and so on and so forth.

Digital gift cards

If you’re really, really stuck and can’t decide what to get someone, then a gift card is your last resort. As mentioned, you can get gift cards online from a number of outlets including Amazon, Google Play, Apple, and other stores should you not feel up to the task.

Read: Review: Is the Parrot Rolling Spider the affordable drone you’ve been waiting for? >

Read: Has Ireland reached peak internet? >