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These thoughtful, last-minute gifts arrive in an instant, no mailing required

Run Ink makes downloadable maps of marathon routes

We get it: 2020 has been a tornado. So it’s no surprise if you’ve forgotten to buy a gift … or two … or three. Or maybe you just can’t go out. This gift list is here to help — all of these items can be delivered with a click. No worrying whether they will arrive on time and in one piece. And many benefit local businesses, to boot.

Frugal Bookstore, the only Black-owned bookshop in Boston, offers electronic gift certificates. Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Support indie bookstores with a gift card to, where the recipient can handpick a participating seller to receive the full profit from their purchase. (Newtonville Books, JP’s Papercuts, and Acton’s The Silver Unicorn are all options.) Or go local: Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Roxbury’s Frugal Bookstore, and Trident Booksellers are among those selling online gift certificates you can e-mail to your book-loving friends.


For many, online fitness classes have made quarantine just a little bit easier this year. Alo Yoga sells e-gift cards redeemable for their AloMoves streaming fitness program, where your family member or friend can pick from a massive library of HIIT, yoga, and meditation classes. If your recipient owns an exercise bike, Boston-based spin studio, The Handle Bar, has digital credits for virtual classes available via its website. All the energy of the in-person class, but just a few feet from your own shower. .

Boston’s Run Ink has gifts for the marathoner on your list. On its site, you can find handsome, full-color map prints of more than 200 races worldwide (including Boston’s, of course) for instant digital download, starting at around $8. Your giftee will receive a file they can print at home, or use as a desktop or phone background. Or you can send a VistaPrint or Minted Gift Card for a poster or other keepsake to be made later.


For lifelong learners: Legend-led MasterClass currently has a buy one, get one free holiday promo, so when you gift an annual subscription ($180) to this streaming course platform you can get one free yourself. Then you can trade notes on courses like Neil Gaiman’s The Art of Storytelling and Simone Biles’s Gymnastics Fundamentals.

The Child (fans also call him Baby Yoda) is never too far from his Mandalorian protector. Lucasfilm Ltd.

A year of Disney+ — with all the Baby Yoda and “Folklore” they can handle — is available for e-gifting ($69.99) for first-time subscribers. Likewise, with HBO Max, bringing the recipient one step closer to binge-watching “Friends” and “The Flight Attendant” until 2022 ($14.99/mo).

For the arts-starved, send the Boston Ballet or the Boston Symphony Orchestra into their living room with live and on-demand streaming performances and programming. Gift certificates for each institution can be used toward subscriptions and individual tickets to exclusive virtual experiences. Noteworthy: BB@yourhome’s “The Gift” featuring Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite (available Dec. 17-27 with a five-program subscription, $150), and the annual, uplifting Holiday Pops concert, available as a standalone from BSO Now for $30 through Jan. 9. Boston Lyric Opera offers giftable annual subscriptions to their series and programs available via their virtual performance platform,

Movie lovers may be glad for a ticket to a virtual screening from Coolidge Corner Theatre or the Brattle Theatre. Both have expertly curated film lineups and events, featuring the likes of Wong Kar Wai’s cinematic masterpiece, “In the Mood for Love” ($14), and the area premiere of Matt Kliegman’s heart-wrenching documentary, “Markie in Milwaukee,” ($12) that follows a midwestern Baptist preacher who wrestles with de-transitioning as she tries to define her identity.


For pay-it-forward gifts, a charitable donation in your loved one’s name is a meaningful option. Any New England-based nonprofit is a good place to start. The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and City of Boston both have directories for area charities and community resources. GiveWell and Giving What We Can organize and vet altruistic opportunities on local, state, national, and international levels, across a multitude of categories.

Keep everyone at home and out of the stores with a multi-store delivery service subscription. Shipt provides same-day, contactless delivery for a variety of retailers — such as Target, Roche Bros, and H Mart — with free delivery on orders $35+ when you gift an annual membership ($99). Monthly or set value gift cards for Instacart can also be delivered in an instant, so they can order groceries, home goods, and other essentials with the click of an app. (Starting at $29/3 months.)

Send support with outdoor tasks like shoveling the driveway and taking down Christmas lights with a gift certificate for TaskRabbit. They can pick from rated and reviewed taskers who can run errands, do household chores, or offer help assembling furniture.

One gift practically everyone could use as we exit a tough year: calm. Virtual gift cards for meditation apps and programming from Headspace ($69.99/year), Calm ($69.99/year), and Boston’s Ten Percent Happier ($99.99/year) are all available instantly.