Gift-giving is a year-around enterprise these days, so allow me to do a favor to your wallet whilst assisting you with the spirit of giving …
Cyberspace is loaded with free items that can even make opening Christmas cards a pleasant surprise. It won’t cost you anything, for example, to postscript your greeting with a URL that leads to something enjoyably free.
If you know someone who likes games, there are five sites you might want to share:
1. GameDept.com features a number of free online games, from actionware to puzzles. The list is often updated and includes a rating system that is quite useful in making selections.
2. PlayerPlaza.com allows the stakes to be raised, if so desired. Not only do they have free games that allow for online competition, they also include the option of playing for money. This is a site for the pro who really thinks they’re a pro.
3. Mindgames is for the Mensa candidates. Its menu is composed mostly of card, board and word games that, to quote them, are ‘an eclectic collection … to challenge the mind.’
4. Download Free Games has over 200 items on offer. The site also does well with providing developers’ details and game descriptions.
5. Free Games could be the best of the lot. The quality of the software is excellent, the downloading is elementary and the variety is vast.
Of course, many cybernauts even deliver their holiday cards via e-mail. There are a number of sources for free greeting cards, and here are three of them:
1. Funny eCards has something for any occasion, with a good assortment of animated offerings.
2. 1000 Greeting Cards is true to their name, which means they have a selection for any and every occasion under the sun. Most, if not all, have the capacity for personalized messages, so they’re a good choice for adding the URL of a freeware site.
3. Ace Greetings has a well-designed home page that displays its menu quickly and throughly. I also share Longer Life’s belief that ads are considered content on websites — if you’re not checking a good site’s ads, you’re probably missing a great deal of good information — and the ads on Ace are useful leads to even more high-quality e-card providers.
It’s not uncommon to give lottery tickets as gifts these days. You can expand on that theme by giving the URLs to these three sites, as long as you inform your recipient that a registration task is involved:
1. The ‘I Won Cash Giveaway’ puts $10,000 on the line every day, along with other monthly prizes. This is a portal site, so be ready to complete a questionnaire.
2. Win4Now is for British residents only, with a prize list that spans from cash to electronics.
3. The Daily Draw says ‘Win a million for free!’ to get your attention, and if you’re a British resident, their online lottery game gives you a daily chance to match four, five or six numbers and hit the bigtime.
USA residents can offer URLs that offer opportunities to win a Chrysler Crossfire or a Harley-Davidson V-Rod. The British can try to drive away in the new five-door hatchback Seat Leon by requesting a brochure at the bottom right side of the homepage.
Nothing says ‘special occasion’ quite like fragrances — just ask the Wise Men who brought frankincense and myrrh to the manger — so here are three ‘sampling’ sites to keep the tradition going:
1. Lacoste Essential UK sends you a postcard ‘tester,’ so preface your URL ‘gift’ by saying so in a warmly personal way, such as ‘if it works once, you’ll know it will work again!’
2. Hugo Boss UK has three samplings to give in return for responding to a short survey.
3. Stetson Black is new on the market, and is available in the USA while supplies last.
American men and women can also ensure smooth and sheer holidays, compliments of your consideration and Gillette. They’re offering a free M3 Power or Venus Design (a $10 value each) in return for your completion of an online registration form and subscription to a free sponsored offer of your choice.
I’d like to mention one final thought for those Americans who might have been victimized by the economy or the elements or both. Cool Savings allows you to download and print coupons from a variety of sources. They’re good for groceries, baby items, pet items, diets, travel and free samples. It’s free to register at their site, and the novelty of being able to use your own printer to get the coupons is a sufficiently unique approach to pierce the pride of anyone who might not otherwise accept a bit of charity.
A few keystrokes can spread a lot of good will, both now and at the last minute. Here’s to a good start.