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There are only two days between now and Christmas, and neither of them is considered a business day by any major shipping company.

So, if holiday gifts going back to the U.S. weren’t in the mail by, say, Labor Day, there’s no way they’ll get there in time — or is there?

Traveling at roughly the speed of light, digital gifts can lap Santa and his flock of flying deer, mock his cumbersome sleigh and arrive before he’s had time to squeeze his fat butt down the chimney — no cookies required.

For sure, they can’t put themselves under the tree, but these last-minute gifts are nothing short of Christmas miracles.

These aren’t just gift certificates. Thousands of books, movies, songs, video games and newspapers are all just a few clicks away. The only thing the gift recipient needs to open your present is a computer and an Internet connection.

For the bibliophile who hates to read there’s The site’s selection of audio books, magazines, newspapers and other media can be bought and sent via e-mail to whomever it is you forgot to shop for. All the recipient has to do is click and download the file onto his favorite audio player, such as iTunes or RealPlayer, sit back and let the book read itself.

Speaking of iTunes, the iTunes store carries thousands of songs, movies and television shows, all of which can be gifted with the click of a mouse and a credit card number. The iTunes software is free to download for a Mac or PC, and the store is easily accessed through the program.

Looking for the last 10 episodes of “Lost”? This store has them.

But not all online gifts require the recipient to laze around for hours on the couch. Other furniture can get in on the act, too, with video games, which can be gifted the same way as music and audio books. has a selection of computer video games to make any kid’s heart skip a beat, including wholesome titles such as “World of Warcraft” and “Medieval II: Total War.”

And for the person who knows everything, nothing says “I love you, nerd” like a year’s subscription to the world’s foremost collection of words — the Oxford English Dictionary.

For $295 a year, a loved one can access the OED’s exhaustive archive of English lexicon, which takes up 20 bound volumes in the real world and includes the definition of “Pontiac fever,” which has nothing to do with cars. The OED, available at, also has month- long subscriptions available.

Thousands of retailers also offer gift cards, in some cases with e-mail versions.

For woodworkers there’s LeeValley. com, whose list of tool offerings will take so long to browse through that no household project will ever get finished. gift certificates put outdoor adventure gear within mouse reach, though not the adventures themselves.

Those with green thumbs are sure to get use out of a gift certificate. Cornus stolonifera anyone? That’s dogwood to nongardeners.

Check other online stores for their gift card options as well. There are thousands of other last-minute presents out there — mostly gift cards and downloads — all just a Google search away.


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