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

Show someone how much they mean to you (without leaving your couch).

virtual gifts
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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 a couple of 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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An Indoor Plant
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Indoor plants have been shown to boost mood, increase creativity, and reduce stress. Gift these luxuries to your friends and family through ProFlowers, which has a selection of plants for new plant parents.

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A Monthly Candle Subscription
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NEST New York offers two different six and twelve-month subscription services. One includes a different candle delivered right to their door every month, while the other includes a candle and a reed diffuser. The candle-lover on your list is going to thank you.

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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. At under $10 a month, the service picks out five reads each month; you choose which one you want to read. Choose to gift a three-month membership, a six-month membership, or a year. They'll need to make some room on their bookshelf.

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"Adopt" Them a Kangaroo
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The World Wildlife Fund now lets you symbolically adopt an animal as a part of their ongoing efforts to save endangered species' from around the globe. Plus, they get a sweet stuffed toy that looks like the animal they've adopted!

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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 great alcohol delivery services out there, but my personal favorite is Winc. Four bottles of tasty wine without breaking the bank, delivered to my door or a friend's? Sign me up!

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A Classic Card
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Postable is one of my favorite tools when I know I don't have time to buy, sign, and 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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A Cameo From Their Favorite Celebrity
young malaysian woman reading from her phone in bed
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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 the stars of 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 Beauty Subscription Box
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The world of beauty is massive, and finding "the one" can be a series of trial and error. Ease that pain by gifting your loved one a beauty subscription box (we listed some of our favorites here) for one month, three months, or more. I love Skylar's Scent Club, which delivers a rollie fragrance that you choose yourself. Unsure which scent to gift first? They even have a scent quiz you can take, so the right kind of smell gets delivered to their door.

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Vinyl Subscription Service
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VINYL POST Record Club is possibly the cutest thing ever. Every month they'll mail a 5" x 7" postcard that doubles as a record featuring one song of an up-and-coming artist and a sweet little message from the band to your friend's door. Watch your loved one's record collection grow in no time.

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Food Delivery Gift Card
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Support your local restaurants and the prospect of dining on the couch with a food delivery gift card. Hundreds of hometown favorites are listed on Grubhub, ranging from Thai to American favorites.

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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 Rosetta Stone Subscription
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Remember at the start of quarantine, when you and your friends swore, you would better yourself by learning a new language? If you want to stick to that promise, language-learning favorite Rosetta Stone is now offering lifetime membership for their service for $200. A deal this good won't last forever, but your knowledge of a new language will. *wink wink*

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A Streaming Service Membership
what have i missed out on this week
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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! All right, 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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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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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 Meal Delivery Service Subscription
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Not everyone has mad cooking skills, no matter how much they watch the Food Network. (Guilty!) Meal delivery services like HelloFresh can change that, though. Gift three to five mouth-watering recipes each week to your friend's door, all the ingredients and instructions included. It's that easy.

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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.

A Coffee Subscription Service
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If you have someone on your list who really loves trying out new types of coffee, why not sign them up for a subscription service? Humblemaker Coffee has tons of options, from cold brew to regular beans.

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Get Them Organized
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Every month, this service from Silk + Sonder delivers a box designed to boost your creativity while keeping you calm. Each box includes a journal, habit tracker, a calendar spreads and a year of their monthly issues. The pieces are modeled after bullet journals, so you'll look cute while keeping your life in check.

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A Meal From Their Favorite Restaurant
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Welcome to the future: you can now live in LA and enjoy pasta from New York City thanks to Goldbelly. Restaurants from all over the country offer meal kits that you can order online and receive in a few days time.

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A Spa Gift Card
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Everyone needs a little self-care every now and again. Heyday has spa locations in New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia and offers gift cards on their site.

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A PIlates Class Subscription
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You might not be able to gift them an at-home reformer, but that doesn't mean they can't get their stretch on at home. The Pilates Class offers yearly and monthly subscription options that includes access to weekly classes at any skill level.

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A Box of Roses That Lasts for a Year
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Venus et Fleur has garnered cult status for their selection of rose boxes that smell amazing for an entire year. Each box comes in a bunch of different colors, so you're bound to find one that they'll love.

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A Craft Beer Subscription
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This is perfect for your friend who lives for unique beer. Each box from the Craft Beer Club highlights two beers two different breweries from two different regions in the United States. Your friends can learn about where and how the beer is made, the different notes and each, and fun facts about the breweries.

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The Gift of Sleep
there's no time like nap time
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A better night's sleep looks good on everybody. Calm is here to make that happen. Whether they want to get lulled to sleep by Harry Styles every night or simply need help winding down after a long day, any person on your list would love a gift card.

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Gift a Getaway
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Got a friend or couple who could really use a few days away in a sweet mini-home that's surrounded by nature? Getaway offers gift cards worth up to $500 so you can help them get out of town.

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The Gift of Glam
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Glamsquad is here to make all of their beauty dreams come true. Buy them a package deal where they can get several blowouts and makeup applications over the course of a few months, or gift them a one-time gift card if they've got a big event coming up.

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A Glasses Gift Card
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Warby Parker offers gift card options worth up to $295, which cover the latest and most high-tech glasses on their site. But, there are a few other versions that cover things like a single pair of regular glasses, too.

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A Museum Membership
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art. home of the Met Gala, offers membership gifts on their website. You can grant your artsiest friends access to opening night exhibitions, extra viewing hours, or early access to every new exhibition. Not in New York? Select your favorite local museum and buy a membership for them there.

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A Relaxing Spa Day
it doesn't get anymore relaxing
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SpaFinder offers gift cards at thousands of different spa anf fitness locations across the country. All they have to do is put in their zip code or city to find a participating location. This is perfect for your sister who just moved away or your best friend who just relocated for her new job.

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A Year of New Underwear
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Update their underwear drawer with a MeUndies subscription. Come for the massive range of styles, stay for the cute limited-edition sets.

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An Interior Design Service
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It's time help your friend spruce up their space. This gift from Modsy pairs your friend with an expert interior designer to bring their design dreams to life. You can choose from single or multi-room packages.

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Help Them Find a New Hobby
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Now they can choose their own new hobby thanks to CourseHorse. The site offers tons of classes broken down by city, so there's nearly endless options to choose from. Buy this for your sister who is always down to try something new.

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A Monthly Plant
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If your best friend is determined to turn her apartment into a greenhouse, gift her a monthly subscription to Horti. Each box with comes a plant, information on how to keep it alive, and a pot to keep it in.

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A Donut-Making Kit
she is a donuts lover
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If you've got the next great home baker on your list, we have the perfect gift for them. Send this mini donut-making kit from Doughnuttery to help them on their way. Each kit comes with four different signature doughnut sugars, a depositor an instruction manual. You'll be jealous you won't be able to be there IRL.

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A Monthly Sock Subscription Service
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They're probably not focused on the contents of their sock drawer, but it's high time that they start curating it. SockFancy's subscription plans—you can choose a month-to-month option or dive in for a year-long one— will keep their feet warm all year long.

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A Meal
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Their next meal is on you thanks to Doordash. This is the perfect gift for someone who can't even boil an egg, or the busy parent who simply runs out of time in on the weeknights.

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A Sentimental Keepsake Book
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This gift from Storyworth creates a customized memory book, so it's perfect if you're spending time away from your loved ones this season. Every week, Storyworth sends your family member a question, and they answer with a memory or anecdote. At the end of they year, they receive a bound book of all the memories and stories that were shared.

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A Workout—for Their Face
beautiful black young woman getting a face massage looking very relaxed
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FACEGYM is the workout designed exclusively for, well, your face. They have brick and mortar locations in New York City, London and Los Angeles, but also offer personalized online classes. Each workout helps remove tension in the face and leave you looking sculpted and glowing. They sell at-home massage kits on their site, too, so you can get your face in shape in between classes.

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An At-Home Pottery Kit
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Each one of these boxes from Crock'd comes with enough material to make two cups each, and is designed for a family of three or four people.

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An Etsy Gift Card
i definitely need this
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If they want to support more small businesses this year, there's really no better way to do that than through Etsy.

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A Virtual Cooking Class
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Williams-Sonoma offers tons of different classes that teach everything from cocktails to the perfect pie crust. Gift them one of their classes to jumpstart their at-home cooking career.

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A BirchBox
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Birchbox is one of the original beauty subscription services, so why mess with a good thing? These are perfect for your younger sister who is just dipping her toes into the makeup world. Start them off with a 3-month subscription and go from there.

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An At-Home Manicure Kit
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Olive & June makes these seasonal manicure to gift your friend who's seriously missing the salon right now. The Winter Box includes everything you would need to get your nails looking perfect: eight shades of polish, remover, cuticle serum, a few different tools, and a glossy top coat.

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Find Them A New Hobby
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They'll make sweet, sweet music in the new year thanks to you—and this gift from Fender. You can gift your musically-gifted friend six months of classes with the click of a button.

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