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The best digital gifts to send your friends and family

Gift cards are one option, but they aren't the only option.


There are way too many online services and subscriptions to keep track of these days, but the flip side is there’s a tool for just about everything. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite digital gifts and subscriptions, including time-tested music, video and gaming services as well as tools to clear your mental space and learn new skills. There are also a few subscriptions here that provide ongoing, IRL deliveries, if you think your giftee will appreciate the nostalgic charm of a physical object.

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Disney Bundle

Disney offers a variety of different bundles of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ at this point, so picking the right one isn’t the simplest option. But they make a great digital gift for basically anyone who likes to kick back with a good show. We recommend the $20 / month Disney Bundle Duo Premium, which offers ad-free access to both Disney+ and Hulu.

The appeal of Disney+ is well-known at this point: it includes almost all of Disney and Pixar's classic animated films, alongside basically everything in the Marvel cinematic universe, the entire Star Wars saga, and original shows like Star Wars Ashoka, Loki, The Mandalorian and more. Not to mention it has every single episode of The Simpsons.

Hulu offers a vast slate of current and classic TV shows, a solid rotating selection of feature films, and a growing roster of originals. Those include Only Murders in the Building, The Handmaid's Tale, Reservation Dogs, The Bear and American Horror Stories. And if you’re gifting this to a sports fan, consider upgrading to the $25/month Disney Bundle Trio Premium, which adds ESPN+ to the mix. To save some cash, you can get both of these options with ads for $10 less per month. — Nathan Ingraham, Deputy Editor

$20/month at Disney

Super Duolingo

Duolingo has successfully gamified learning a new language. The app offers lessons for dozens of languages (including a number of endangered languages), starting from the very basics, and it teaches in a fun and rather addictive way. You can use the app for free, but the Super Duolingo upgrade removes ads and gives you unlimited “hearts” so that making a mistake won’t slow your progress. It also builds customized personal lessons based on things that it thinks you need more help with. Individual plans start at $7 per month, but a $10 / month family plan lets you share the app with loved ones. If you have a vacation to a foreign land coming up, getting Duolingo and learning the local language with your family can be pretty delightful. — N.I.

$7/month at Duolingo



Being a human being in the world is not easy, and the Headspace app is a great option for adding some peace and quiet to a loved one’s day. It features a wide variety of guided meditations, including sessions for beginners as well as specific exercises that focus on reducing anxiety, learning breathing techniques, increasing your compassion and so on. There are also yoga and fitness sessions, and parents can also check out a “mindful parenting” category as well as play back stories for their kids. It also has sleep tools like soothing music and "sleepcasts,” while other audio programs center on focusing, moving more, and starting your day. For $13/month or $70/year, Headspace can be a great tool to bring someone much-needed peace of mind. — N.I.

$13/month at Headspace



You can almost think of Masterclass as an elevated streaming platform. Yes, it’s a learning app, complete with step-by-step instructions from A-list instructors, plus assignments that encourage trying new skills in the real world, but it’s also just a lot of fun to sit and idly watch. It makes a good gift for anyone you know that’s always quoting an article they just read or a documentary they just watched, but also for those who appreciate entertainment that’s a little more sophisticated than reality TV (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

The Masterclass lineup reads like the course catalog from a mythical university: Aaron Sorkin teaches screenwriting, Questlove teaches DJing, Annie Leibovitz teaches photography, Marques Brownlee teaches video-making. Each class ranges from about two to eight hours and is split up into manageable five to 15 minute lessons. If you faithfully follow along, taking notes and putting effort into the assignments, you’ll come out the other end better at whatever the topic was.

But I found Masterclass also lends itself to idle, popcorn-in-hand couch viewing. Everything is beautifully shot and set to lovely music, with plenty of backstory on the instructors and slo-mo close-ups. A subscription gives you access to classes on iOS and Android devices and most smart TVs (though not Samsung Tizen just yet). Original shows include GOAT, in which a pro focuses on a single project, such as Nancy Silverton making the gooiest grilled cheese you’ve ever seen, and Talking Shop with mavens riffing on their heroes (Dr. Cornel West getting lyrical about the impact of Muhammad Ali, for example). The mobile app even has a sort of “TikTok for grownups” feature with short swipeable videos of instructors giving pointers and laying down bits of knowledge.

Despite its big-name instructors and high production quality, a Masterclass subscription won’t run you much more than standard ad-free streaming services. Gift subscriptions are bundled by the year and range from $120 for an individual account and $240 for a family account, which allows access through six devices at once, and the packages often go on sale for the holidays. — Amy Skorheim, Commerce Writer

$120/year at Masterclass



Codecademy is well-regarded in the coding space as an option for both beginners to get their feet wet as well as something pros can use to brush up on their skills. If you know someone who has expressed interest in the coding world, it would be hard to go wrong here. Codecademy currently offers two different plans that start at $210 per year (or $40 per month); they open up a huge catalog of courses, including things like a career path for front-end engineering, learning JavaScript or Python, digging into development or data science and many other options. Along with these courses, Codecademy also connects you with a large community for support and feedback, gives you real-world projects to test your skills on and offers completion certificates. It can be a pricey gift, but helping someone you care about invest in themselves is very much in the spirit of the holidays. — N.I.

$35/month at Codecademy

PlayStation Plus / Nintendo Switch Online / Xbox Game Pass

If someone you know is getting a shiny new video game console for the holidays, or spends a ton of time with their current kit, gifting them subscriptions like Nintendo Switch Online, PlayStation Plus or Xbox Game Pass can make the gaming experience a lot more fun and convenient.

A $17/month Xbox Game Pass subscription offers more than 100 games that can be played on the Xbox or PC, and they can be streamed to phones and tablets as well. It also includes EA Play, which opens up access to even more games. Perhaps the best part of Xbox Game Pass, though, is that it offers access to first-party Xbox Game Studios titles the day they're released, like Starfield and Forza Motorsport.

Sony revamped PlayStation Plus in 2022, combining basics like online play, cloud storage for saves and two free monthly games with a large catalog of games that can be either streamed or downloaded to your console as long as your subscription is active. There are three different tiers, all with different perks, but the middle “Extra” option ($135 / year) is probably best for most gamers. It includes access to around 400 PS4 and PS5 games, including some of the PlayStation’s best, like Horizon Forbidden West, Ghost of Tsushima, Deathloop, Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Returnal. If you know someone who loves older games though, the “Premium” tier ($160 / year) adds a bunch of titles from the PS1, PS2 and PS3 catalogs as well as perks like game trials and recently-announced PS5 game streaming from the cloud.

Finally, Nintendo has two tiers of its Switch Online plan. The basic $20 / year plan unlocks online play, more than 100 Game Boy, NES and Super NES games and cloud backups of your saved games as well as the occasional special offers. The $50 “expansion pack” adds a collection of N64, Game Boy Advance and Sega Genesis games as well as some DLC for games like Mario Kart 8, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Splatoon 2. — N.I.

$20 at Amazon

Apple One

If you know someone with an iPhone and at least one other Apple device, chances are good they’re already paying for a little bit of iCloud storage, and maybe a few other Apple services like Music or Arcade as well. If that’s the case, consider gifting them an Apple One subscription. In a single monthly charge, it offers a combo of Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and either 50GB, 200GB, or 2TB of iCloud storage. If you spring for the $23 Family plan, that 200GB can be shared with five other family members.

The $33 plan adds subscriptions to Apple News+ and Apple Fitness+ too, making it a good choice if you know anyone looking to expand their exercise routine. At this point, all of Apple’s offerings are pretty good – Arcade has a load of fun games with no ads, TV+ has a number of excellent shows and movies at this point including Silo, Pachinko, Ted Lasso and Lessons in Chemistry. Meanwhile, Apple Music differentiates itself with features like spatial audio and lossless playback to go along with its massive catalog. — N.I.

$20/month at Apple

Adobe Photography plan

Adobe is a powerhouse in the photography world, and with good reason. Lightroom is an excellent tool for managing and editing photos, and Adobe’s photography-focused plans are a good fit for any budding photographer.

The company offers a few different options: For $10/month, you can get Lightroom and a whopping 1TB of storage. If the person you're gifting this to has been really good, you can spend $20 and get them both Photoshop and Lightroom alongside 1TB of storage, which is ideal for anyone shooting photos in RAW. The plans with Photoshop also include Photoshop for the iPad, so keep that in mind if you're getting this for someone who loves Apple's tablet. — N.I.

From $10/month at Adobe



HBO Max became Max earlier this year, with a new app and a host of new content. But its biggest draw is probably still HBO, which offers one of the best video libraries you can find. Its collection of original shows and films is unrivaled in a lot of ways, from classics like The Wire and The Sopranos to newer hits like House of the Dragon, The Last of Us and Succession. The service also has a huge movie library covering all decades and genres, like this summer’s smash hit Barbie. Max is experimenting with new offerings like live news and sports, as well. Oh yeah, it has Friends, too. — N.I.

From $10/month at Max



Audiobooks are a wonderful way to “read” no matter where you are or what you’re doing, and Amazon’s Audible remains the go-to audiobook service. It has a vast catalog of basically any type of book you might want. $15 a month unlocks one “credit” that can be used to add a “premium” book to a permanent collection, while Amazon Prime members get two credits a month. Along with that is a selection of podcasts and audiobooks, plus some Audible originals. But the book credits are the real draw here. — N.I.

From $15 at Amazon

Crunchyroll Premium

Crunchyroll is the gold standard for anime fans. It offers more than 1,000 shows as well as digital manga, merch and much more. Some of the content is available for free, but one of the three different subscriptions offers a lot more. A premium plan removes ads, unlocks access to the entire Crunchyroll library, provides access to new episodes just one hour after they air in Japan and opens up the manga collection.

The basic $8 / month tier lets you stream on one device only, but the $10 and $15 plans let you stream on four or six devices simultaneously, and they both offer offline access, which can be crucial for watching when you’re away from Wi-Fi. There’s also a $15 discount on $100 from the vast Crunchyroll merch shop that arrives every three months. — N.I.

$10/month at Crunchyroll

Twitch Turbo

Twitch can be quite addictive, and Twitch Turbo makes the whole experience better. A $12 / month subscription removes basically all advertising, whether it’s pre-roll ads, ones that pop in the middle of a stream or display ads. That’ll make a Twitch binge much more enjoyable. And for people who like to stream their gaming adventures, Turbo automatically saves all of your broadcasts for 60 days instead of the standard seven, which means you have way more time to dig through them for highlights. — N.I.

$12/month at Twitch

YouTube Premium

If you know a YouTube junky, chances are you’d be their favorite person if you made ads on the platform vanish. A $14/month (or $140 / year) subscription removes all advertising, but there are a number of other benefits as well. If you're watching on a phone or tablet, you can download basically any video and save it for offline playback. Videos also can play in the background, which means you can switch to other apps without stopping. This comes in handy for picture-in-picture, or if you just want to hear the audio while you switch away to send a text message.

Premium also comes with a subscription to YouTube Music, the company's competitor to Spotify and Apple Music. It's a pretty solid service, and it does a few things that Apple and Spotify can't offer. For example, all of YouTube's music video content lives alongside its standard streaming catalog, which means users can build playlists that combine videos uploaded to YouTube alongside official artist releases. It’s also one of the few music services that lets you upload your own music files so you can access them along with the streaming catalog. For $14, the combination of a better YouTube experience and a full-fledged music streaming app is a pretty good deal. — N.I.

$14/month at YouTube

The Sill

If there’s someone in your life who enjoys a good house plant – or someone who you think could use a little more greenery in their living space – check out The Sill. The company sells a huge variety of plants online, but it also offers 3- or 6-month subscription boxes, where you can send someone a new plant every month. It lets you choose factors like “easy-care” for newbies or “pet friendly” if there are curious cats in the house. The company also smartly does not auto-renew subscriptions, so you don’t have to worry about remembering to cancel. Shipping plants can feel perilous, but in my experience they’ve been really well-packaged, and if the plant is damaged you can just send a photo within 30 days to get it replaced. — N.I.

From $165/month at The Sill

Gaia fitness

Yoga and meditation are two practices that are almost universally believed to be beneficial, but they’re also rather intimidating to start. A subscription to Gaia could remove some of the barriers to entry for someone who needs a little more peace and quiet in their life – the service has a host of ad-free instructional videos to remove some of the mystery from yoga for those new to the practice. It’s not limited to content for beginners, though, as you can find a ton of different courses across different styles, skill levels, how much time you can spend and more. There are also loads of guided meditations available with a variety of topics to focus on (sleep, stress relief, emotional wellness) as well as different styles like breathwork, visualization and lucid dreaming. Plans start at $12 a month. — N.I.

$12/month at Gaia

Field Notes subscription

Yes, the digital world is great, but getting things out of your head and on to paper — real paper, not a notes app — can foster organization and inspiration alike. If you know someone who could use a little of that in their life who also appreciates good design, check out Field Notes. Every quarter, the company produces a new variation of its classic notebooks, utilizing different printing techniques, designs, colors and a host of other clever things to make each release a work of art of its own. Past editions have included tributes to the US national parks, a set of notebooks with intricate foil-stamped covers and a snow motif where each of the 99,999 books they produced had a unique snowflake design on the cover. A $120 annual subscription includes four quarterly releases (each of which usually contains two 3-packs of the quarterly edition) as well as subscriber exclusives with each release, random freebies throughout the year and an ongoing 10-percent discount. — N.I.

$120/year at Field Notes