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Virtual Gifts and Gift Ideas for When You Can't Be There IRL

Show how much someone means to you without leaving your couch.

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When a special person in your life completes another trip around the sun, you want to be there for their big day. But what if you can't? Enter: digital gifts. They're the next best thing to show the person you care about that you're thinking of them. In times like these, the idea of going to the store, picking out a gift, and then going to give said person that gift—at a gathering of more than ten people, natch!—isn't really possible. Thankfully there's a whole world of gifting that can be accessed online. Gifts range from specialized messages from your favorite celebrities, bottles of wine sent directly to your doorstep, or cards delivered to a certain someone, without your ever stepping foot outside. Yes, there are perks to living in the 21st century! So when you want to gift the person who means the world to you, consider one of these virtual gifts. When it's time to give your gift of choice, don't forget to hop onto a Zoom call and get everyone to join in the on the party, even if that means singing happy birthday out of tune and out of time.

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A Wine Delivery Subscription
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Gone are the days of perusing the liquor aisle in search of something that not only tastes awful but might contribute to a couple of late-night Tinder swipes later. There are tons of services out there, but my personal favorite is Winc. Four bottles of tasty wine without breaking the bank, delivered to my door? Sign me up!

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A Streaming Service Membership
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Give the gift of a membership to HBO GO, Disney+, Hulu, or Netflix, and never hear from your loved one again! Ha, I kid. They'll call to say thank you and ask what you recommend for them to binge-watch.

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A Magazine Subscription
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Give them one of life's greatest pleasures: great journalism! Alright, I'm biased, but nothing goes harder than a magazine, my lounge chair, and a nice sunny day. From magazines for those to like to cook to the perfect magazine for the woman with some serious style, there's a publication for everyone.

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The Classic Card
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Postable is one of my favorite tools to use when I know I won't have time to run to the Post Office to mail a card. You choose the design of your choice and message, and they'll do the rest. Yep, that includes the printing, stamping, and the mailing, all for under $5.

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Cameo
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Have a friend who raves over a certain celebrity? A Cameo is the ultimate virtual gift. Stars ranging from The Bachelor's Chris Harrison to Jerry Harris from Netflix's Cheer will create a 60-second personalized message for your friend. Depending on who you choose, it can get expensive, but seeing your friend's reaction is priceless.

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A MasterClass
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Some of the world's best in comedy, photography, filmmaking, cooking, and more are sharing the art of their craft over on MasterClass. The streaming platform offers videos from these creators that you can watch to learn more. Right now, the service is offering a deal where if you buy one annual membership, you'll get one free.

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A Grocery Store Delivery Service
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When I feel like pampering myself, I'll get my groceries delivered using Instacart. It saves me time and some extra dollars, too. You can gift your friend all of their favorite foods as a surprise, and especially right now, it'll help them keep safe while giving someone else a job. So, in the end, the couch potato in you is indeed a hero!

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Book of the Month
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If you speed through our #ReadWithMC book club picks, then you should check out Book of the Month. Priced at under $10 a month, the service picks out five reads each month; you'll choose which one you want to read. Choose to gift a three-month membership, a six-month membership, or a year. They'll want to make some room on their bookshelf.

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Audible Membership
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If you have one of those friends who says they don't have time to sit down and read, may I suggest an Audible membership? Featuring thousands of your favorite titles, never have a boring commute (is it weird to say I miss it?) again. The sleep timer feature on their app has been life-changing for me.

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A Virtual Gym Membership
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One thing that's great about the 21st century is that you don't have to leave your house to get a good workout in. There are tons of apps that will make sure your friend breaks a sweat and not the bank. Choose from our handy-dandy list of workout apps here.

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