Money

Gifts on the go: These apps deliver presents on demand

You're on your way to a barbecue, and you realize you forgot the wine bottle for your hosts at home. You bump into a first cousin who announces that it's his birthday. (Ack! Why wasn't that in your calendar?) Or it's Mother's Day and you want to send something special, but your mom lives five states away.

There are so many gift-giving occasions that can sneak up on you, and now you don't have to make a detour to hunt for something third-rate: With a tap or swipe or two, you can use apps to send last minute gifts that wow. Really, really nice ones. Keep these apps installed, just in case.

Zeel

Whether it's my birthday, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, or a Tuesday, there is nothing — I repeat, nothing — that I would like more than a massage. Ordering one up — for yourself, or someone else — just got a lot easier, thanks to Zeel. It's being called the "Uber of Massages" for good reason: You tell the app where you are, what kind of massage you'd like, and when you want it, and the app finds you a certified, background-checked massage therapist and sends him or her to your home. You pay through the app and gratuity is included, so no need to fumble for cash after your rub down.

Bouqs

Bouqs has reinvented the entire "ordering flowers" thing with busy, thoughtful people in mind. First, they have a flat rate for flowers, and don't try to up-sell you on cheesy candy boxes or Teddy bears. Second, free delivery: None of those mysterious handling and shipping fees that make the price you thought you were paying for flowers a distant memory. And finally, they cut the flowers on the day they're delivering them. This ensures that your flowers arrive as fresh as possible, and last for days. And you can do it all weeks in advance through the app, so Mother's Day doesn't sneak up on you (again).

Gyft

I suspect that whoever said "don't spend it all in one place" never enjoyed the thrill of having a gift card in hand. Gyft makes it easy to send e-gift cards by email, text or Facebook message, so you can show up to the party empty-handed and still give the guest of honor something fabulous. Choose from over 200 retailers (Starbucks, iTunes, Home Depot, Gap, Sports Authority... the list goes on), and send in seconds. Use the app as a virtual wallet for your own gift cards, too, so you can take them out of your bulging wallet.

Drizly

Ding dong, it's cocktail time! Drizly will deliver beer, wine, liquor and all the extras needed for a fun party or special occasion, within an hour. Sending a gift is just as easy as ordering something for yourself— show up for a birthday meal, and be toasting with your dessert wine by dessert. Use your app to pay (no mark-ups!) and tip the delivery guy— no cash needed. Minimum order is $20, and delivery is $5 (except in New York, where it's free, for now). Drizly's available in a growing list of cities (Austin, Baltimore, Seattle, Minneapolis and Los Angeles, to name a few), so a good time can be gifted by all.

Sesame

Sesame takes all the work out of curating a themed box of fun things your giftee is sure to enjoy. Each of more than 75 themed gift boxes centers around an interest (golfing, gardening, craft beers, mixology), or a fun activity (making s'mores, having a spa day, traveling or even taking selfies!). It's all put together, and as easy to order as a pizza, right from the app. Baby gifts, thank you presents, or last-minute Mother's Day options are all available, and each come with an "enjoyment guide" explaining what's inside.

Artifact Uprising

Everyone knows that you can slap a picture on a mug or a t-shirt and call it a gift. But if you want to send a truly beautiful keepsake that will be enjoyed for a lifetime, grab the Artifact Uprising app and start scrolling. They make it easy to grab photos from your hard drive, Instagram, Dropbox or your phone's photo roll and transform them into beautiful art, memory books, calendars and more. Started by two photographers, the service has an eye for card stock, design and presentation that make a gift truly special for anyone, be they a shutterbug or a proud grandparent. Digital photos often languish on our phones, but with Artifact Uprising you'll be able to transform them into a special gift.

Any other gift apps that you like to use? Let me know in the comments!

0:00
 
0:00
Your video begins in
0:00
TOP