More than just a list of gifts, here are some tried and true techniques to figure out awesome gifts for your virtual gaming buddies.
I love gift-giving. The holidays are my favorite time of year because I genuinely enjoy suprising my friends and loved ones. But when it comes to online gaming friends, you might need to use creative solutions to suprise them, especially when you might not know their mailing address.
It's also never too early to start holiday gift shopping (or at least thinking up ideas). If you wait until late November/December, you'll find that your options might be more limited and physical gifts may not arrive on time.
Here are some tips that I've picked up over the years for shopping for some of my closest gaming friends, especially when you might not know their address!
Tip #1: Broaden your horizons
Of course you should start with gift guides for a specific game that they enjoy, e.g. The Legend of Zelda to begin brainstorming ideas.
But don't just limit yourself to a game! Even if all you do is play Destiny 2 together, that doesn't mean that your options are limited to that game. Also think about:
- Merch from their favorite streamer or esports team (be extra sneaky and figure out their shirt size in an unassuming conversation about shirts)
- Snacks and drinks that you know they enjoy while gaming (sometimes the best holiday gift is ordering your best gaming bud a pizza with their favorite toppings)
- Listen for unintentional hints, like their mousepad being super old or gross
Tip #2: Don't know their address?
So you found the perfect gift, but need to know where to send it. A safe bet is to simply ask them directly, and let them know you want to send them something. If you're close with their significant other or in a close-knit group, you could also ask someone close to them.
But most importantly, do not stalk your gaming friends' shipping address unless you are confident that they would be okay with it, or have shared it with you in the past. Surpises are nice, but not when they invade on people's privacy.
Luckily, if you are gaming buddies, there is no shortage of virtual / egift methods that don't require a shipping addresses to send.
Tip #3: Use their Steam Wishlist
Steam is my go-to hassle-free way to send gifts to my gaming crew. You will need to be friended on Steam for this to work, of course.
Check for any games that they've added to their Steam wishlist, especially recently. You can find their wishlist on their profile, just above the comments section:
Steam is fantastic about making it easy to buy and send games to people; you can even include a note and select a future delivery date and time so your gift arrives at the perfect time.
Steam won't allow you to purchase a game for someone who already owns it, so you don't need to worry about duplicates.
Tip #4: Digital codes, gift cards, and egift cards
You can purchase digital codes from places like the Nintendo eShop and simply send friends the code to use on their account. Be wary about any sketchy or non-official sites of course. You can even purchase physical cards in many retailers that you can scratch off to reveal, and send the code to your friend.
Sites like Humble Bundle make it easy to purchase games and send the game codes to your friends to redeem (plus part of the proceeds go to charity).
Tip #5: In-game items and payment workarounds
It depends on the game, but explore how to send virtual items like skins or currencies in your favorite games. Many games on Steam are good about letting you send or trade virtual items via Steam.
If your game of choice doesn't have gifting/trading functionalities, you could use virtual payment methods like PayPal, Venmo, Amazon gift cards, etc. so your friend can purchase the virtual or physical gift themselves.
Tip #6: Pick up on unintentional clues
Pay attention and listen for games they mention being interested in. Especially when gifting multiplayer games, the implication is that you can spend time playing it together. For many, this is worth more than the game itself.
- They had a blast playing Overcooked, and they don't even know about the sequel, Overcooked 2
- They enjoyed playing a party game like Jackbox Games or Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, so would enjoy their own copy to host with
- They mention interest in a certain game or genre
Tip #7: More unconventional ideas
- Boost their Discord server (if they're into that sort of thing)
- Subscribe and gift subs to their stream
- Commission a custom art piece for them (the first time your guild beat a raid, etc.)
- Save game clips and make a highlight reel of your best plays together
Tip #8: Remember, it's the thought that really counts
Gift-giving isn't about spending a ton of money on people; it's about communicating to them that you cherish their friendship without any expections in return.
Gifts don't necessarily need to be tangible or monetary. Send a kind note, wish them a happy holiday, play a game together, or just catch up.
2020 has been a hell of a year for everyone, so gifts or not, make sure your gaming friends know you care about them. Happy holidays ❤️
More gift guides coming soon!
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