Tight Christmas times? Give the (free) gift of the internet

It’s going to be a tight ‘ol Christmas, if newspaper headlines are to be believed. And let’s face it, you’ve spent so much on your iPhone contract, the deluxe all singing all rocking version of Guitar Hero World Tour and all the apps under the iTunes sun, you’ve got no money for things like gifts. So what to do? Luckily, the internet is awash with ideas for serious cheapskates. And none of them involve ‘comedy’ USB peripherals.

Nothing says ‘I forgot it was your birthday until I saw it on Facebook’ like an eCard. Now, though, you can claim environmental reasons for people receiving electronic Christmas cards. Is a proper card really worth the death of a dolphin? Exactly. Check out Someecards for some of the best.

Software updates
OK, it sounds distinctly dull, but if someone promised to sort out all my gadgets, peripherals and computer programmes with the updates they deserve I’d elevate them to the top of my eCards list. You got me an Adobe Update for Christmas? How thoughtful.

Give the gift of 140 characters. If they don’t already use it, blind them with the wonderfulness of random updates and inappropriately shared thoughts. For added points, befriend them. Just think, you’ll mother never again have to call you to make sure you’re ok – she can check Twitter to find out all your latest movements.

Beta invites
The value of a present is directly proportional to how hard it was to get hold of. If you’ve given up on Elmo Live this year, perhaps a Beta invite to the Next Big Thing will suffice. Or at least tide you over until January, when Elmo comes into stock.

A DVD boxset
OK, so the DVDs look a little home burnt, and that picture on the box? Did you just print that off Google Images? Still, the time and effort of finding an entire series on the internet and burning it should say how much you care (a fair amount. Not loads, but a fair amount).

A mixtape
Never has a free gift melted so many hearts. If you play this one right, you can almost emerge from the whole Free Christmas Shebang looking thoughtful and caring, rather than freakin’ tight.

Susi Weaser is the editor of Shiny Shiny. She in no way advocates the non-buying of presents.

Susi Weaser