It’s Christmas Shopping Crunch Time: 14 Stress-Free Gifts To Get Today

This story is part of Christmas present guide 2021, our list of ideas by subject, recipient and price, so that you can find the perfect gift.

Christmas shopping was stressful enough before the pandemic, but the supply chain bottlenecks expected this year will only make things worse for reluctant shoppers.

Choosing a TV and movie streaming service like Netflix, Hulu or Disney Plus not only helps you make yourself comfortable at home when it gets colder, but is also an easy last minute option that can be sent by Email arrives and is not sold out. Whether you buy a gift card in-store or online, the service should have a dedicated section for redeeming gift card codes if your loved ones want to activate the subscription.

Netflix? Disney Plus? There are dozen of streaming services out there that make gifts quick and easy.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Before going down this avenue of gift giving, there are a few things that you should consider beforehand. Your recipient needs a streaming device or smart TV to use the service. (If you don’t have one, congratulations! You came across another gift idea. CNET can help you navigate affordable, high quality streaming devices and Smart TVs.) In addition, after the gift card or gift subscription has expired, access to the service is of course also possible. If you want to continue using the service you will need to add a credit card for payments.

Here is a list of some of the most popular (and niche) services to offer to family and friends this year:


You can buy physical or digital Hulu gift cards through retailers like Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, Walgreens, Kroger, and Paypal. Hulu has a few different subscription levels to choose from, such as basic Hulu ($ 7 per month) and ad-free basic Hulu ($ 13 per month). You can also subscribe to Hulu Plus Live TV ($ 65 per month) or the ad-free Hulu Plus Live TV ($ 71 per month).

Hulu is home to a huge catalog of movies, shows, documentaries, and original content.


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Disney Plus offers new releases such as Shang-Chi, classic Star Wars, Pixar and Marvel films as well as Disney Vault films, funny documentaries and many TV shows. Disney Plus is currently offering a one-year gift subscription to new subscribers. A Disney Plus subscription is usually $ 8 per month or $ 80 per year, but the service has a special offer that charges you as little as $ 2 for your first month. The deal runs through November 14th. You can also check out the Disney Plus bundle, which includes Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus for $ 14 per month.

show time

One of the most generous free trials out there

show time

Showtime, a more direct competitor of HBO, includes award-winning shows, films, documentaries, pay-per-view battles, and more. You can get a Showtime gift card at several retailers such as Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, CVS, GameStop, Walgreens, Walmart, and more. Showtime also offers gift cards for its online store, but these gift cards cannot be applied to a streaming subscription.

Most recently, Dexter: New Blood, a sequel to the original series starring Michael C. Hall, premiered on duty. A Showtime subscription is typically $ 11 per month or $ 99 per year, but the service has a limited time special that charges you $ 4 per month for the first four months of a free trial. You can also bundle Showtime and Paramount Plus after a 30-day free trial for $ 12 per month.

Outstanding plus

Paramount Plus, formerly CBS All Access, includes content from CBS, BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV and the Smithsonian Channel, as well as sports content from the NFL, SEC and more. The basic Paramount Plus plan is $ 5 per month after a seven-day free trial. You can also upgrade to Premium after the free trial for $ 10 per month.

You can purchase a Paramount Plus gift card in-store or online from retailers such as Best Buy, GameStop, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and more.

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Bribox is one of my favorite niche streaming services. You can check out original content like The Long Call, compelling mysteries like Luther, The Fall, Poirot, classic comedies like Keeping Up Appearances and The Vicar of Dibley, dramas like Downton Abbey and MI-5, and much more. Britbox costs $ 7 per month or $ 70 annually after a seven-day free trial.

You can subscribe to Britbox for one year this Christmas season with just a few clicks on the website.

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No more breaking the bank, buying theater tickets or searching the dark corners of the internet for a bootleg. BroadwayHD includes musicals, Broadway classics, Tony award winners, Shakespeare, ballet, and more.

You can give away a month of BroadwayHD for $ 12 or an annual subscription for $ 130.

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Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime have a lot of Korean dramas (my heart has not personally recovered from Netflix ‘Crash Landing on You) but if you are looking for a dedicated service for Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese shows and movies. You can watch Viki for free with ads or subscribe to the Viki Pass for $ 50 per year or the Viki Pass Plus for $ 100 per year. Viki Pass unlocks more shows and films, presents content in HD quality without advertising, as well as first access to exclusives, originals and more.

Unfortunately, the service no longer offers gift cards. So if you want to buy a Viki Pass for a loved one, the best thing to do is to buy a prepaid cash card that the recipient can use for the subscription.


Apple TV Plus – Apple’s $ 5 a month streaming service – has released some popular exclusive shows like Ted Lasso, The Morning Show, Dickinson, and Schmigadoon. The service also features original documentaries and films such as Finch with Tom Hanks, Coda and Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry.

There’s no dedicated Apple TV Plus Gift Card, but you can buy a regular Apple Gift Card that the recipient can add to their subscription.

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Similar to BroadwayHD, the theatergoer in your life could enjoy a subscription to Met Opera on Demand. The service includes full-length operas such as Madama Butterfly, Die Walküre, Aida, Carmen, and more. Met Opera on Demand also includes a Live in HD series that adds new titles every month.

Gift your loved one with a one-year subscription to Met Opera on Demand for $ 150 through the website.

Sundance Now / Screenshot by CNET

Sundance Now features collections of award-winning dramas, thrillers, documentaries, true crime, international films and more. The service is a great place to start exploring high quality, secluded titles like One Million American Dreams, God’s Own Country, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, and more.

The service costs $ 7 per month or $ 60 annually after a seven-day free trial. Sundance Now does not offer subscription gifting, but you can always purchase a prepaid debit card that the recipient can use to subscribe.

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Just because stores have swapped Halloween decor for Christmas trees doesn’t mean scary movies should be put on the table too. Shudder is the ultimate streaming service for horror movie fans. With a subscription, you can watch classics like Children of the Corn and Carnival of Souls, as well as Shudder Originals, science fiction, creature features, psychological thrillers, and more.

A Shudder subscription costs $ 4.75 per month after a seven-day free trial. Like some of the other services on this list, it doesn’t offer a dedicated gift card, but you can purchase a prepaid debit card that the recipient can use for the subscription.


The movie buff in your life will love subscribing to the Criterion Channel. The service includes more than 1,000 classic, contemporary, art house, international and independent films. With a subscription, you can watch movies like Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, An Affair to Remember, Bride of Frankenstein, Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush, Paris is Burning, Frances Ha, and more.

You can order a gift subscription on the Criterion Channel website. Choose from a one-month subscription for $ 11 up to a year for $ 100.

Crispy roll

You can find a good selection of anime on other streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu, but Crunchyroll is a well-known hub for manga, games, news, as well as popular anime shows like Attack on Titan, Bleach, My Hero Academia, Death Note, InuYasha and more. You can use Crunchyroll for free, but the Premium tier unlocks an ad-free HD viewing experience on multiple devices. Plus, get early access to anime titles, discounts on DVDs and more, within about an hour of their original broadcast in Japan.

Crunchyroll offers three levels of premium – Fan ($ 8 per month), Mega Fan ($ 10 per month), or Ultimate Fan ($ 15 per month) after a 14-day free trial. You can give away a premium subscription tier through the website.

Read more about it Cancel streaming service to save the most money, the best streaming services of 2021 and other great gifts that won’t be out of stock.

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