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Best holiday gift cards: No shortage of these last-minute presents

Delivery dates are not your friend when last-minute holiday shopping, but these gift cards are.
Written by June Wan, Technology Editor on

Scrambling to fulfill those holiday wish lists before the weekend rolls around? Don't panic. With gift cards, you can deliver shopping bliss to your loved ones without a worry over delivery dates that get pushed back by the hour. To save you even more time, I've scoured the internet to find the best gift cards available, ranging from that of department stores to food and digital services. Snag any of these picks and you'll receive instant gratification this holiday season.

For your convenience, many retailers including Starbucks, Amazon, and Target also offer the option to send gift cards via text message. This makes for an easy way to spread holiday cheer to your family, friends, or coworkers. To do this, download the stores' apps and purchase gift cards like you normally do. When checking out, choose the option to send the gift card via e-mail or text message. If you're on iOS, you'll also see toggles in your iMessage that allow you to send gift cards within a conversation.

An Amazon gift card is probably the safest pick on this list but also the most useful. With a never-ending catalog of items to scroll through, an Amazon gift card gives your recipient the freedom of choice. The retailer is promising one to two-day shipping for its physical gift cards -- which come in holiday-themed packaging -- and same-day delivery for digital gift cards.

For decades, Best Buy has been a tech haven for enthusiasts and geeks, carrying virtually any tech brand and product that one could think of. While Amazon has caught up over the past years when it comes to gadget offerings, there's still a reason to shop at Best Buy instead: price matching. Show any floor associate a better deal on a product and they'll price match to compete. While inventory and delivery times have taken a hit, a Best Buy gift card is your best bet for any tech-loving recipient.

Complement his or her holiday with the gift of food! I mean, everyone loves to eat right? Food delivery services like Grubhub have boomed over the past couple of years and the pandemic is just another reason to eat in. With a Grubhub gift card, you can order delivery (or takeout) from hundreds of local restaurants, including mom-and-pop locations -- all from the comfort of your home.

There's only one streaming service that gives you high definition playback of the multiverse that is Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. Treat your recipient to a one-year subscription of Disney Plus with this digital gift card. With it, they'll gain access to the latest superhero flicks and animations, and even holiday classics like Home Alone.

Also: Best streaming services: Disney Plus 10 other top picks

I'll be the first to admit that I've purchased birthday and holiday gifts from Etsy for many years, and perhaps you have as well. And if there's one thing you should know about buying custom-made gifts, it's that they take time. That's why an Etsy gift card makes for a timely and thoughtful gift, especially if your recipient loves arts and crafts. You'll also be supporting local businesses!

Have a family member flying over for the holiday get-together? Treat them to an Uber ride to or from the airport. Gifting to someone who doesn't cook? Treat them to free takeout. An Uber gift card is more flexible than you'd think and makes for a great present that comes in handy no matter when and where.

For all the glitz and glamour, a Sephora gift card makes for the perfect last-minute gift. The retailer hosts dozens of beauty brands, ranging from skincare to cosmetics to fragrances, allowing your recipient to try a little bit of this and that, or replenish their go-to products.

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