Digital and virtual gifts totally came into their own in the last two years.
But the best digital and virtual gifts are not just for a pandemic Christmas or lockdown birthday.
There are now more and more amazing digital and virtual experience gifts you can buy for everyone on your gift list from kids and grandparents to your best friends.
They are brilliant as last minute gifts if you are not meeting up in person but also fantastic for any devout minimalists in your family or just anyone who doesn’t want more stuff cluttering their home.
So what are the best virtual gifts for 2021 and 2022?
What Is A Good Virtual Gift?
I have devoured so many guides to virtual and digital gifts over the last two years and I have to say many of them just get it wrong.
The digital gifts in these guides are either blatantly obvious like subscriptions to Prime Video, Audible, Spotify, Netflix, Nintendo Switch, Disney Plus etc which are expensive and don’t feel very special as gifts however good they may be.
Or they are monthly subscriptions for more stuff we will never use to clutter up our homes.
Or they are gifts for real world experiences it’s still hard to do.
Whilst the best virtual gifts give us a really special experience virtually that we couldn’t enjoy in any other way.
They are a great way to indulge someone’s very special personal passion but also to bring friends and family together to enjoy virtual experiences with one another all year round.
So I have for you here a huge guide to digital & virtual gifts that do just that.
Digital & Virtual Gift Guide
In this digital gift guide you will find the best virtual gifts for all your family and friends.
There are ideas for all budgets from tiny stocking stuffers and virtual party favours to real blow out virtual experiences.
There are also alternative digital TV, movie, audio book & eBook subscriptions that are great for special interests or if you would rather support a wider range of independent media platforms.
Do have a browse through the whole guide for inspiration or check out the index below if you are looking for something specific …
Virtual Gifts For Theatre Lovers
Nothing can quite match the magic of live theatre but these theatre streaming services truly are an awesome second best and make a brilliant virtual experience gift.
They will let theatre lovers on your gift list enjoy some of the best theatre performances from recent times in the comfort of their own home.
These digital theatre services all offer annual subscriptions but you can give a virtual gift of as little as one month which is very affordable …
- BroadwayHD : stream Broadway & international shows – including Royal Shakespeare Company – to your living room. You can gift for as little as one month.
- Digital Theatre : subscribe to see some of the best recent theatre productions from the London stage starring David Tennant, Richard Armitage, Zoe Wannamker & more. Monthly subscriptions start at £10.
- Next Up Comedy : live comedy streamed to your living room. You can gift membership from as little as £20.
- Marquee TV : world’s best live dance, theatre, opera & music on demand. Everything from La Scala to the Royal Opera House plus the Broadway Digital Archive.
Virtual Gifts For Music Lovers
If you have music lovers on your gift list there are some very cool virtual experience and digital gifts out there beyond an obvious Spotify subscription :
- Fender : learn to play the guitar with the classic guitar makers.
- Idagio : the best classical musical concerts streamed from around the world.
- Simply Piano : the award winning app teaches piano playing fast.
- Master Class : world class musicians from Yoyo Ma to Alicia Keys lead music master classes.
- Tidal : an alternative to Spotify which sells itself on much better sound quality.
- Quobuz : another high sound quality alternative to Spotify.
Virtual Gifts For Travellers
Some brilliant virtual travel experiences have appeared during lockdown that let you explore the world virtually for free but some travel companies have taken it one step further and created interactive experiences for small groups with your own personal tour guide.
These virtual gift for travellers could be wonderful for a grandparent who is no longer so mobile or anyone trying to be a bit more eco friendly and cut their air miles …
- Viator : personal virtual history tours can be a wonderful gift for anyone who can’t travel right now. Viator has mini tours from less than $5 that could be great little virtual gifts, stocking stuffers or party favours.
- Graceland : if you’ve always wanted to go to Graceland you can now take a private virtual tour around the whole estate.
- And Beyond : or enjoy a private family safari in which you get to see the wildlife up close from your living room
- Frick Collection : for something pricier you could book a private online tour via zoom for a big family group with the Frick Collection in New York.
- Conley & Silvers : or gift a virtual soiree in anywhere from a museum in Florence to a vineyard in the south of France and give you a chance to meet people whilst you’re at it.
Virtual Gifts For History Buffs
If you have history buffs or family historians on your Christmas gift list then do check these fabulous virtual and digital gift ideas that can be adapted for most budgets.
- Find My Past : if you have UK ancestry a subscription to Find My Past will be a real winner as a digital gift for Christmas 2021 as they have exclusive access to the 1921 UK census starting in January.
- Who Do You Think You Are : get a digital subscription to the magazine behind the popular family history programme.
- History Hits TV : huge amounts of history programming plus membership events from the award winning podcast History Hits.
- Genealogy Classes : if your family historian is ready to take dive deeper into your ancestral history, gift them one of this selection of online genealogy classes.
Virtual Gifts For Sports Fans
Digital gifts for sports fans aren’t limited to access to ESPN or Sky Sports subscriptions. There are some cool virtual gift alternatives for sports fans of all sorts …
- The Skills : online sports classes from Micheal Phelps to Megan Rapinoe.
- Master Class : has a similar offer but covers some different sports including skate boarding, chess & rock climbing.
- Cameo : lets you give a personalised video from a favourite sports star as a digital gift.
- Wisden : digital subscription to Wisden for cricket fans.
Virtual Gifts For Foodies
Online cookery courses are always a popular virtual gift for foodies and are available for all budgets.
There are great quality online courses for all budgets in all areas of cookery – but there are now also live classes with world class chefs beaming their way into your kitchen to actually watch you cook and coach you.
- The Chef & The Dish : live classes with chefs from around the world you can buy as a gift card.
- Yes Chef : more cooking classes from chefs worldwide.
- The Butter Book : gift a subscription to hundreds of expert baking tutorials from as little as $25.
- Artisan Bread Making : bread making with Peter Reinhart.
- Leiths : the famous Leiths cookery courses are now available online.
Digital Crafting Gifts
Online craft classes are fun virtual gifts for any keen crafters – including kids – on your Christmas or birthday gift list with a wide range of classes available in all sorts of crafts, at all sorts of levels and for every budget …
- Craftsy : online beginner and advanced craft classes of all sorts. You can gift a class from as little as $5 for a stocking stuffer or for a really big virtual gift for a keen crafter buy a membership.
- Annie’s Creative Studio : knitting, sewing & crocheting online classes from about $15 a class.
- Creative Bug : sewing, quilting, knitting classes & more targeted at beginners & intermediates. Monthly subscriptions start from $7.
- If I Made : creative courses in flower arranging, cake decorating & more.
Digital Art, Design & Photography Gifts
If the family and friends on your Christmas gift list are more into art, design & photography there’s also a wide range of virtual gift offers for them …
- Sparketh : a very wide range of online art courses for kids from 6 to 18. Not cheap but a really valuable virtual gift for children who love art.
- Domestika : art, illustration, animation & digital content courses you can gift digitally through a range of gift cards.
- Skillshare : lots of creative classes including photography, animation, illustration, web design. Offers annual membership from $100.
- Monthly : intensive creative courses in music production, art & design
- Photo Academy : live interactive online photography classes including some specifically for young teenagers.
Virtual Wine Appreciation, Brewing & Distilling Gifts
Lockdown inspired some real creativity in the wine, brewing & distilling industries and there are now lots of virtual gifts available to get your gift list making or tasting their favourite tipple …
- Brewing : this popular online brewing class makes a very affordable virtual gift for brewing beginners.
- Priority Wine Pass : for virtual wine tasting courses and events.
- Edinburgh Whisky Academy : become a whisky expert with these online courses.
- Whiskey Master : or if you are after a seriously big gift for a whisky lover start them on the steps to becoming a whisky master.
A good number of vineyards, distilleries & wine societies now offer virtual wine, whisky & gin tasting events that can be a fun virtual gift for all the adults in the family. Check out this guide to virtual tasting events in the UK and this one to virtual wine tasting in the US that you can gift.
Virtual Lifelong Learning Gifts
General virtual learning subscriptions can be a great way to give the gift of lifelong learning to the whole family.
- Wondrium : courses on just about everything from maths & science to piano & guitar lessons. Monthly subscriptions start from roughly £7/$10.
- Master Class : all sorts of lifestyle classes online including cookery, music, sports, design, writing & more from the “experts”. Annual subscriptions aren’t cheap but could be a great virtual gift for a couple to enjoy learning together.
- Sumizeit: mini audio & video courses on all sorts of like skills.
Language Learning Gifts
Learning a language together is a wonderful way to bring the family together over the year, especially if it is a language that has real meaning for your family. So the latest online language courses & apps which are fun for all ages can be a cool digital gift for the whole family …
- Duolingo Family Plan : a great way to learn languages together the Duolingo family plan lets you have 6 different accounts under one annual subscription.
- Babbel : language courses from as little as $30.
- Mondly : over 40 languages that you can now learn using VR. Subscriptions available from £50 a year.
- Rosetta Stone : the original digital language course.
Alternative Digital TV & Movie Gifts
We all know about the big digital TV and movie subscription services like Netflix, Prime Video & Disney Plus but there are also some cool alternatives that make great digital gifts for Christmas and birthdays including :
- Magellan : wide range of documentary films with big focus on history & nature.
- Curiosity Stream : big documentary archive with good value starting subscriptions.
- Criterion Channel : classic art house movies from around the world.
- BFI player : classic & independent movies from the British Film Institute.
- Shudder : horror, thriller & supernatural movies with monthly subscriptions from as little as £4 a month.
- Britbox : the best of British TV from the 70s, 80s & 90s.
With most of these digital TV & movies services you can gift the subscription at checkout or you can give a gift card.
Audio Book Gifts Other Than Audible
Audio books are a digital gift that will be enjoyed over and over again especially by kids who will happily listen to their favourite stories on loop whether on long journeys or playing lego.
Audible is obviously a popular option but if you’d rather not give more money to Jeff Bezos – it’s owned by Amazon – there are other audio book providers with different digital gift offers :
- Libro.fm offers individual books & subscriptions and donates to a local independent bookstore of your choice for each purchase.
- Chirp for individual audio books rather than a subscription.
- Downpour : monthly audio book subscription.
- Audiobooks : you can gift individual audio books & subscriptions.
- Scribd single subscription gives access to audio books, ebooks, magazines & podcasts.
- Instaread : audio & eBook summaries of best selling and classic literature & non-fiction crammed into just 15 minutes.
All of these audio book providers have some children’s books so a subscription would be a great virtual gift for a family with kids but for virtual gifts just for kids also check out:
- Vooks animated story books for little kids.
- Epic : audio book plus eBook subscriptions for kids from preschoolers to 12.
eBook Gifts Other Than Amazon
eBooks are always a good digital gift for anyone trying to declutter, frequent travellers and long haul commuters.
They are also a real winner for any little book worms who devour kids books at a a quite incredible rate.
If you are looking for alternatives to Amazon for eBooks check out these platforms that all offer subscriptions …
- Bookmate : eBooks & audio book subscriptions with gifts from as little as £10.
- Scribd : single subscription gives access to ebooks & magazines plus audio books.
- Epic : eBook & audio book subscriptions for kids from preschoolers to 12.
- Blinkist : short form versions of non fiction best sellers in both eBook & audio book formats.
And there you go a huge list of the best virtual and digital gifts for all your friends and family. I do hope you found something fabulous on it for everyone on your list.
For even more Christmas Gift ideas check out these other gift guides :