When I was first introduced to the internet, I joined a chatroom group and made several hundred friends. Seven years ago I swore off chatrooms, but before then I really enjoyed my online friends’ company. I loved exchanging virtual gifts with my chatroom buddies. I ran across one of them recently through MySpace. Old sentimental memories pop up everytime I see her pic on my top friends list. I find myself wanting to share Christmas with my new online friends the way I used to share Christmas with my old online friends – exchanging virtual gifts.
Virtual gifts may be a new concept for many people, but they have been around for a dozen years. They are very similar to ecards. Some are simple epostcards with pictures of your gift item on them. Others are animated and wrapped in virtual gift boxes. They are fun to share with family and friends all year long.
You can send an entire meal, a bouquet of flowers or even a house. Some virtual stores specialize on one type of item, others carry a wide variety of virtual gifts. As virtual gift giving has gained popularity, some fee-based virtual stores have opened. No need to fret, there are many free sites still out there and here are several to get you started in your virtual gift giving.
Virtual Chocolate (www.virtualchocolate.com) is all things chocolate. They offer a wide variety of chocolate related services and even include a section to send your friends a free chocolate themed postcard.
Phillip’s 1-800-Florals (www.800florals.com/virtual/) is an online florist that also offers a wide variety of free virtual flowers to send. They just started offering free ecards too. Their virtual flowers are very easy to send. You just click the bubble next to the photo and fill in the blanks all on the same page. This is the simplest to use and understand of all virtual gift sites I’ve seen.
Omni City (www.omnicity.com/pinpoint/vgc.htm) is a free virtual gift store that carries a wide variety of gift items. I found their gifts to be very easy to send. They also have some of the most unique items for virtual gifting.
Omni City’s categories include: pets, clothing, electronics, food, household items, insects, jewelry, musical instruments, office items, people, plants, sports, tools, toys, transportation and miscellaneous items. I found their miscellaneous category very amusing. I have a whole list of people in mind to send that virtual porta potty to!
Virtual Gifts 4 U (www.virtualgifts4u.com) is another free virtual store that carries a wide variety of gift items. The cool thing about this website is that they send your virtual gift in a virtual gift box.
Virtual Gifts 4 U’s gifts include: food and drinks, cars, planes, boats, flowers, homes, appliances, electronics, money, jewelry, vacations and odds and ends. I love their peach roses, they are beautiful. Through my daughter’s email address, I sent my grandbaby a bottle of milk. She loves looking at pictures on the computer, so I’d love to see her face when she sees what I sent her.
The first time you use Virtual Gifts 4 U, you may not notice that when you click send, you need to wait for the processing to complete. After you click send, you come to a page that throws you a sales pitch, so you may not see the indicator at the top of the page. You need to wait until the red indicator completes the processing for your gift to be sent.
Virtual Presents (www.virtualpresents.com) is one of the oldest free virtual gift stores. These images are not as clear and nice as other sites and their selection is not as good. Sending these virtual gifts is fairly easy. You need to pick your item through the scroll down menu instead of clicking on the photo.
Virtual Presents offers these types of gifts: vacations, furniture, appliances, cars, planes, a hot air balloon, jewelry, food and odds and ends.