gifts they might actually want

If You Don’t Know What to Get Them, Try an (Actually Useful) E-Gift Card

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy of Getty Images

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It happens to the best of us: Whether you’ve forgotten an upcoming birthday or anniversary, underestimated how long shipping will take, or just put off shopping for a Christmas present until the 11th hour, you’ve found yourself empty-handed, sans a physical gift. That means it’s time to pull out the Hail Mary that’s guaranteed to delight: the e-gift card.

It’s not our best idea, but an e-gift card will at least let your giftees pick out what they want and have something to open — even if it’s just an email. Plus there are nearly endless options, from nice-to-have gift cards for their favorite clothing store to truly useful ones for services or stores where they do their daily shopping.

To get you started, here are 95 different gift cards to Strat-approved retailers that will delight anyone on your list, from the outdoor adventurer to the gamer to the avid cook to the jet-setter. If you want to earn bonus points for presentation, we recommend taking the extra step of printing out the gift card (even though a code will be emailed to them) and sticking it in a (thoughtful!) card. Or better yet, put the printout in a box and wrap it up. It’s the little things that count.

Food and drink e-gift cards

From $1

For the person who moved away from their favorite bakery or brunch spot, Goldbelly will ship food from certain restaurants and other small food businesses nationwide. Writer Lauren Ro loves Goldbelly and uses it to ship brunch from New York–based Russ & Daughter’s to her parents every year.

A particularly thoughtful gift for anyone who uses their oven to store shoes.

Nothing says, “I care” quite like covering their grocery delivery.

From $25

Shipping perishables can be logistically difficult, but a Milk Bar gift card won’t go bad in the mail.

According to Ghetto Gastro co-founder Jason GraySalt Fat Acid Heat author Samin Nosrat keeps Fly By Jing’s Sichuan Chili Crisp out on her kitchen counter.

As a tinned-fish convert, I certainly wouldn’t mind receiving a gift card to buzzy seafood company Fishwife. (In fact, the brand’s collab with Fly by Jing made the list of my top five tinned fishes.)

If they need any suggestions of what to buy with a Golde gift card, we’re big fans of the Superwhisk and Turmeric latte blend.

So they can snag a jar of spicy strawberries, a bottle of persimmon vinegar, or one of the brand’s famous tomato candles. (There’s also plenty of garden-inspired bath and body products as well.)

A Starbucks gift card is certainly not the most original gift — and we’ve made fun of them before — but you know it will get used (and definitely appreciated) by a bleary-eyed college studentteacher, or sleep-deprived parent.

So they can indulge in the infamously maximalist menu and order all the chicken-parm pizzas, fried mac-and-cheese balls, and slices of white-chocolate raspberry-truffle cheesecake their heart desires.

Travel and experiential e-gift cards

Give your workout buddy the chance to try something new with a gift card to ClassPass.

From $25

For the person who loves going to see their favorite artists and teams play live.

For the movie buff whose idea of a perfect Saturday is sneaking into three screenings in a row.

57Hours will help your recipient plan everything from ski day trips to a 21-day mountaineering expedition in Argentina.

From $50

For the person who takes remote work to whole new level.

For the person planning an elaborate holiday getaway.

Or go with an Airbnb gift card if they’ve already accrued enough airline miles to last a lifetime.

They can use this gift card on rides to the airport or to Uber Eats some late-night munchies to their door.

Or you could give them credit toward their next Lyft ride, through the app where they can also rent a Citi Bike.

Tech e-gift cards

An iTunes gift card might be outdated, but an Apple gift card is quite useful. You can put it toward a new laptop, AirPods, or any other electronics or accessories sold by Apple, as well as pay for an Apple Music or Apple TV+ subscription.

For anyone who’s now forced to make their own account thanks to Netflix’s password-sharing crackdown.

Help the cord cutter in your life upgrade to Hulu+, which comes with live TV.

A gift that everyone from your Billie Eilish superfan niece to your Dead Head dad will enjoy.

For the person currently subsidizing five different streamers.

If you can’t tell the difference between Gods of War and Gears of War, you should probably just give your favorite gamer a gift card.

Fashion and accessories e-gift cards

From $25

Simply — and perfectly — designed T-shirts, casual pants, sweaters, and accessories for men and women.

From $25

A J.Crew gift card would be a welcome present for someone who’s back in the office and wants to refresh their basics. The retailer makes several Strat-recommended pieces for both men and women.

From $25

Quince’s cozy loungewear, made from luxe cashmere and French terry, will keep them warm all winter long. A gift card will let them pick their preferred color and size — or choose something else from the retailer’s vast selection of clothing, jewelry, and home goods.

From its home offerings to clothing for the entire family, anyone will be able to make use of an H&M gift card — and get a lot out of it with the brand’s affordable pricing.

From $25

Get them this gift card, then send them our guide to all the best things to buy at Nike.

From $25
Photo: Retailer

They can get a Strategist-approved puffy laptop case, a chic leather bucket bag, or the classic reusable nylon tote.

Photo: retailer

For the person who likes their clothing to come with Amazon-fast shipping.

From $25
Photo: Retailer

If they’re anything like Strategist writer Tembe Denton-Hurst, who checks the retailer’s website daily, they’ll be happy to have this ASOS gift card to cover their next haul.

For those looking to expand their “Bushwick Birkin” collection.

Lately our staff group chat has been buzzing with affordable designer finds in End’s sales bin, so a gift card here should go a long way.

Zappos is a one-stop-shop selling clothes, shoes, and accessories for the entire family, which makes it perfect for nearly any fashion-forward giftee.

Casetify offers so many custom case designs and collections to keep phones, tablets, and laptops protected that it’s probably best to just let them choose their favorite.

Whether they want a Super Puff or TikTok-famous vegan-leather pants, this gift card will help get them there.

Photo: The Strategist; Photo: Retailer

In addition to Anthropologie’s in-house brands, your recipient will be able to shop labels like MOTHER, Calvin Klein, Levi’s, Sunday Riley, and more. The brand’s own employees have also said great things about the housewares, which they often buy for themselves — especially the candles and glassware.

Whether they’re tall, short, or curvy, Madewell has a pair of jeans (and a ton of other Strategist-favorite clothing) that will suit them.

From $15
Photo: The Strategist; Photo: Retailer

According to several teens we’ve spoken to, Lisa Says Gah is the perfect place to get hair clips for a “Phoebe Buffay or any girl who fits the wacky artistic-but-cool archetype.”

Photo: The Strategist; Photo: Retailer

For the fashionista on your list whom you wouldn’t dare shop for, this Danish fashion brand serving up effortless cool-girl style definitely won’t disappoint.

Photo: The Strategist; Photo: Retailer

Supply the gift card, and leave it up to the stylish person on your list to decide what they want from Revolve.

Photo: Retailer

For the person who loves classic leather goods.

So they can treat themselves to some sculpting shapewear or some cozy loungewear.

For the person who’d like to improve their sleep, we love Lunya for its machine-washable silk sets and cooling cotton PJs, among other things.

Photo: retailer

From the CloudKnit sweatpants to the MegaFleece to the exercise dress, Outdoor Voices has plenty of Strat-approved workout wear turned WFH wear to choose from, for both men and women.

Any sporty — and sustainable — giftee will love shopping Girlfriend Collective’s collection of athleisure made from recycled plastic bottles.

Photo: The Strategist; Photo: Retailer

For that sports bra, yoga mat, or some men’s pants that are just as flattering on women.

Photo: retailer

Don’t know their size? Don’t worry. Size-inclusive label Universal Standard will have them covered from size 00 to 40.

For the person who’s been carrying around the same wallet since college.

From $25

Whether they’re looking for a new pair of hoops or an engagement ring, Mejuri has it all.

In addition to straightforward gift cards, BaubleBar has gift cards for specific items like custom bracelets, phone cases, hair clips, or necklaces for a more personal touch.

Beauty and grooming e-gift cards

Budding beauty bloggers would flip over a gift card from the makeup and scent emporium.

Our beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton is “psychotically obsessed” with Ulta, and especially with how it offers both drugstore and luxury brands side by side.

From $25

For those with ingredient sensitivities, all the products carried at Credo Beauty are guaranteed to be clean and cruelty-free.

From $10
Photo: Retailer

If their bathroom cabinets are filled with sheet masks and serums, they’ll probably be delighted by the gift of K-beauty from Soko Glam.

This one’s for the beauty-obsessed person on your list who has already tried everything at Sephora. They’ll love diving into everything Ah-Shi, an Indigenous-owned beauty brand, has to offer.

If they want to shop natural, Black-owned beauty and wellness brands, let them run wild in BLK + GRN’s e-store. (And here are some tips on how to build a Black-owned skin-care routine to help them out.)

Home e-gift cards

Photo: The Strategist; Photo: Retailer

For your New York bestie, this e-gift card for Greenpoint’s brick-and-mortar-only destination for dinner-party essentials is the perfect combo of a digital and physical gift.

From $10

From blobby candles to gradient puzzles, there are tons of cool home and lifestyle items to choose from at Areaware.

There’s no better housewarming present than a gift card to the MoMa Design Store. They’ll have their choice of unique home goods, furniture, and art.

If you follow our monthly hauls you’ve probably seen us mention home décor from Hay dozens of times. Any Strat stan will have no problem filling their cart with some of our favorite items.

From $100

For anyone who might appreciate some especially colorful new home goods.

For the person who collects old Jet magazines and has been trying to get their hands on an original Black Panther Party newspaper.