No wrapping, no trudging to the shops, no fuss. Digital gifts – what’s not to like? Well, in a way, the lack of everything I just mentioned. Would you want to give or a receive a digital gift this Christmas?
Digital gifts can take the pain out of Christmas shopping. After all, why head to HMV (while you can) and buy a CD, take it home and wrap it, when you can gift someone an iTunes album?
Surely that will make both parties happier, since the receiver is only likely to end up burning the album into an MP3 format anyway? Well, I’m not sold. And for this Christmas, at least, I’m not buying either.
Filling your digital stocking
I can’t argue with the convenience of digital gifts. If the recipient already owns an ebook reader, tablet, or MP3 player, surely gifting them a digital book, album, app or game is a decent move? They have something to read, listen to, watch or play on Christmas Day. Your living room doesn’t suffer from thrown-out wrapping paper, and your own poor old feet don’t have to schlep around the shops looking for a gift in the first place.
I see all of those arguments, but I still don’t feel convinced that I’d like to give a digital gift this Christmas. Having something tangible to unwrap on Christmas morning seems too important a tradition to miss. I think I’d also feel guilty, like I hadn’t put enough effort in. And that’s even if I did end up getting someone exactly the book or album they were hoping for that Christmas.
But the times, they are a’changing. And as the way we enjoy content shifts further to the digital domain, perhaps there will be a knock-on effect for our gift-giving. Maybe next Christmas I’ll save my shopping for the iTunes store? I can’t say I will this year.