It is very nearly Christmas. But all is not yet lost. Through the magic of the internet you can still buy an instant online gift that will make it look as if you know something about (and possibly even care a little about) that person you completely forgot about up to now.
Some online gifts are harder to give that you may think. Getting Fortnite V-bucks to the gamer in your life is tricky, and you have to use third-party services to buy gift vouchers for Showmax and Netflix.
But there are things you can buy, right now, with the minimum of fuss. We've put together a shortcut guide with everything you need to, using only a credit card, make it look like you planned it all out way in advance.
These are our favourite ways to give instant online gifts in South Africa right now: just add money.
Masterclass has a dizzying array of online courses from enough celebrity names that there is at least one to interest your recipient, be it Spike Lee on making films, Gordon Ramsay on cooking, Steve Martin on being funny, or Serena Williams on playing tennis.
If you have R3,000 to spare, you can drop that on an all-access pass – which the site will try hard to sell you. But if you select a class from the gifting page, then look carefully for the single-class option, it will set you back only R1,500.
If your recipient is driving, a gift membership to Amazon's Audible is just what you need. They (and you) may not know it yet, but road trips are always better with an audio book.
A one-month membership is good for one audio book plus two of the Audible Originals extras. Audible deals only in dollars in South Africa, but that one-month option will set you back under R250 at the current exchange rate.
It's a no-lose proposition: if your recipient already uses a different music streaming service, just say you are encouraging exploration of new musical frontiers.
About the easiest music-streaming service you can buy a voucher for in South Africa is Simfy Africa, which will sell you three months of access for R170. For Spotify you're going to need an account, and ditto for Apple iTunes. (The Apple gift vouchers does have the added bonus that it can be used for Mac software and iTunes movies too, not just an Apple Music subscription.)
Giant online retailer Takealot sells gift vouchers starting at R50, all the way up to R1,000. There's not much you can't buy on Takealot, so if you are shooting for freedom of choice (or really don't know the person you are buying for), that might be for you.
If you're pretending to care about someone who likes hanging in the kitchen, YuppieChef is your friend. You have to go to the third page of its email-voucher section to get to them, but there you will find a nice selection of Christmas-themed cards to send. Pick one, select any rand amount you fancy, and you're sorted.
For the book fiend, Exclusive Books offers digital vouchers that can be redeemed at its online store, or in a physical store. You can select any amount you fancy, but keep in mind that a R50 book voucher will show you don't know what books cost.
Shopping for someone of a more nature-hippie disposition? A voucher from Faithful to Nature says "I think you're probably vegan" – but with a wide enough selection of products that you'll get away with it if you are wrong.
For the wine or beer lover, a CyberCellar gift card may be the answer. CyberCellar will take up to R5,000 of your money – and as a nice bonus will let you upload your own image to serve as your gift card.
And, for the fashionista you didn't care enough to shop for in advance, there is a voucher from fashion retailer Superbalist.
Business Insider SA is part of Naspers-owned 24.com. Takealot, Superbalist, and Showmax are also in the Naspers stable.
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