As people stay home to stop the spread of Covid-19, social gatherings have fallen by the wayside with friends and family members logging in to virtual meeting spaces to catch up.
While the traditional birthday party and other milestone celebrations are a distant dream, gift-giving does not have to be, thanks to e-gift cards – digital versions of the physical gift cards sold in stores.
Loved ones can still be showered with presents and surprises on birthdays or anniversaries. The National lists a few websites making it possible.
Amazon offers e-gift cards that never expire and carry no fees. They are redeemable against the purchase of millions of items, and delivery can be scheduled for up to a year in advance – a welcome feature for those who have trouble remembering birthdays. Albeit convenient, digital giving gifts can sometimes feel cold and distant, but Amazon offers options for customisation. Buyers can choose from nine birthday-themed designs, three of which have greetings written in Arabic, or can design their own by uploading a photo. Gift cards can carry any amount and are delivered via email with a personal message.
This is a good option if you are looking for children's gifts. Once purchased, a gift certificate is sent to the recipient – or in this case, to mum or dad – via email. Parents of the birthday boy or girl have six months to shop more than 250,000 products and find what they want at the lowest price with Mumzworld's "best price guarantee". If any product on the website is found in the GCC for less, the platform matches the lower price, allowing shoppers to stretch their virtual dirhams. The entire amount need not be redeemed in one transaction either – enter the code during check out and the amount is deducted from the total bill. Delivery is free, and items are shipped within three to four working days in the UAE and five to 10 working days across the GCC.
My List has partnered with more than 100 retailers and service providers in the UAE and Egypt to offer numerous options spanning categories such as fashion and beauty, children and toys, and leisure and luxury experiences. In line with its mission to give shoppers variety, gift cards can be purchased in two formats: an e-gift card that is delivered by email, or a physical card that will be sent in an attractive gift box with a personalised message to any UAE address for a small fee. Gift cards are available in different denominations from Dh50 to Dh5,000, and are valid for 12 months upon activation.
Jumbo offers online gift cards valued at Dh50, Dh100, Dh200 and Dh500, ideal for tech enthusiasts on the birthday roll call. Upon purchase, the sender can include their name, a special birthday message and specify a delivery date. The cards can be used to shop thousands of consumer tech products online, spanning mobile phones, TVs, computers, cameras, wearables, accessories, personal care gadgets, and so much more. Even better, a "Product Wizard" is available to guide shoppers needing a bit of inspiration. This quick Q&A tool filters items based on budget, category, personality and lifestyle to help shoppers spend their gift card wisely.
Geekay Games has gone digital, offerings e-gift cards for PlayStation, Xbox, Steam, Google Play or Nintendo eShop. Available products include membership accounts and wallet top-ups in various currencies, including UAE dirhams, British pounds and US dollars. Gift cards are also available for Apple iTunes, which can be used in the iTunes Music Store or the App Store. For e-gift cards that can be used in the Apple online store, buyers can hop on over to Apple.com to select a card design, specify an amount and include a message. According to the website, e-gift cards are delivered to recipients via email within 24 hours of purchase.
In these uncertain times, birthdays and celebrations may look different, but make the effort of sending gifts by alternate means so that the sentiment remains the same. Coming together to share the excitement of a special occasion, even from a distance.