Free (sort of): Aeroplan Beyond Miles
If you’ve got some Aeroplan miles to spare, the loyalty program now lets members donate them to its Beyond Miles charitable program on behalf of someone else. That someone then receives an e-card informing them of their contribution to one of 10 charitable partners, or to more than 450 pooling accounts that let members support grassroots causes in their own communities.
$1 and up: Airbnb
This justifiably popular online lodging-rental service doesn’t sell gift cards directly, but you can still give the gift of someone else’s pad (in around 33,000 cities and 192 countries) via Giftrocket, which lets users give money with a suggested expenditure attached. That said, the recipient can always ignore the suggestion and blow the cash on a Shatner-print Snuggie.
$10 and up: Flight Centre
If you want to guarantee that your gift will be spent on travel, one of the world’s largest travel agencies is a solid bet.
$25 and up: Air Canada
On one hand, Canada’s domestic airline scene is almost as bad as its wireless industry when it comes to customer gauging. On the other, a gift card from its largest airline can help you get to more than 175 destinations, and can be used to pay for travel options, advance seat selection and change fees. And who doesn’t want a change fee for Christmas?
$25 and up: Spafinder
This website lets you book spa treatments and wellness vacations at 20,000-plus locations worldwide. Will come in handy after the rigours of the holidays.
$5 and up: Liftopia.com
This website lets you buy lift tickets at more than 250 ski resorts in North America. Parlay this with a massage via Spafinder, and you have an entire first ski day covered!
$100 and up: BedandBreakfast.com
Sure, you could go for a $25 gift card here, but you get a free $25 for every $100 you spend, and who wouldn’t want some extra dough to go toward stays at more than 12,000 properties worldwide?
$33,000 and up (give or take): Exclusive Resorts
Formerly the domain of the extremely wealthy with its $170,000 lifetime memberships — plus $1,100-a-day fees — this supremely luxurious destination club now offers a “Gateway” card that delivers 21 days of vacation redeemable over the course of three years. The cost? $1,550 a day, plus various extras. It sounds steep — OK, it is steep — but one look at the properties involved (Banyan Tree's Seychelles resort is pictured above) might make you fork over your Christmas bonus (assuming you work for the makers of American Girl).