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The Literal Last-Minute Gift Guide

You're due at the tree in 60 seconds, and you've got nothing. Here are 11 cool delivery services that will save your life.

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— you know what, NEVER MIND, there's no time. Just buy one of these subscription and/or delivery services and your family member(s), friend(s) or spouse won't hate you. Too much.

Think of this as the deluxe, and at least a little bit surprising, 2013 equivalent of a last-minute magazine subscription.

Also: most people haven't heard of these things. For all they know you've been planning to give these gifts ALL YEAR.

Makeup and stuff

Birchbox sends a little box of LOVELY things — mostly cosmetics and hair/beauty products — each month. They're all samples, so part of the point is to upsell people, but it's still got plenty of gift potential.


Bro stuff

Socks, hygiene stuff, underwear — the things a lot of dudes end up buying last minute, or when they start running out, delivered quarterly. Manpacks is like a maintenance kit for the broiest bro in your life.


Stuff from people with good taste lets you subscribe to INTERESTING INTERNET HUMANS, in that they'll send you surprise goodie boxes four times a year. There are tons of great people on here, like the folks who run FOOD52, FWD friend Joel Johnson, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, and the guys who started CoolHunting.

Pretty much anything else lets regular people make their own subscription delivery services, most of which are giftable and some of which are VERY specific. Like this one for old magazines. The site's Twitter feed links to a lot more subscriptions created with the site.

Digital stuff

Hulu Plus, Netflix streaming, Spotify and Rdio are all PRETTY GOOD GIFTS. They won't seem as personal or as novel as most of the above delivery services, but, like magazine or newspaper subscriptions — the old last-minute standbys — they will be appreciated.

Good luck.

Contact John Herrman at

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