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My sister is studying abroad in third-world country, and mailing her a Christmas gift would be prohibitively expensive. I'd like to get her something anyways, but it'd have to be web-only. Here are the parameters:

She gets internet access at cafes using her laptop (a Mac). Internet access there is meh--imagine a slower, sometimes unreliable DSL line. She uses her computer for keeping in touch with friends and family, reading the news, and occasionally creating documents.

An iTunes gift card seems obvious, but I'm hoping I can draw on your collective intelligence for a better idea.

My budget is ~$25, but if the whole family chips in, anything up to about $200 would be doable.

Edited to add: it may help to know that she's very smart, moderately tech-savvy, and loves to read.

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8 Answers 8

Send her an email Christmas card telling her that you've put money towards a gift that will be waiting for her when she returns home to visit. I know it's delayed gratification, but she is an adult...

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Can't you wire her the money, or put it on a credit card (if it's usable where she's staying)?

I can't see something web-based worth buying for that amount and that she'll enjoy, especially if she has to deal with a bad Internet connection in cafes.

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+1 on wiring money. You can wire money to practically any country in the world. I've done it to Senegal and the Philippines without any trouble. The service fee is steep, though. –  Nate C-K Dec 1 '09 at 8:13
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postage rates are not so high in fact. check http://ircalc.usps.gov and wonder that you actually can send small cell phone in padded envelope to Siberia for about $6-10 only. High shipping rates is common misunderstanding :)

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Nice link. Unfortunately, there's no regular postal service where she lives. –  petehern Dec 1 '09 at 8:37
    
what country she in? –  Konstantin Salavatov Dec 1 '09 at 9:54
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How about sending her a $25 gift certificate to Kiva.org? The gift certificate will let her micro-loan the money to someone in another third world country who needs for money for their business. Over time, the business owner will slowly pay the money back, and at that time your sister can choose to take the money out of Kiva, or re-loan again. Gift certificates can be given in multiples of $25, and are truly 'web only'.

It's a completely legitimate organization. I've been participating for two years now, and it's very rewarding to know the money is being put to good use, over and over again. Since your sister is in a third world country, she would probably enjoy the giving aspect of the gift.

Happy holidays!

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I bought my dad an Amazon gift card certificate for father's day. This would also probably be a good match for your sister, since Amazon basically ships anywhere and also has tons of other goods besides books.

For gadgets and geeky stuff in general, a ThinkGeek.com gift certificate could also be a good option.

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Third world country. Shipping prohibitively expensive. –  petehern Dec 1 '09 at 8:02
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Buy a subscription to a electronic news, book, or audio service like New York Times Reader, O'Reilly Safari, or Audible.

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Perhaps buying her a few e-books (Amazon is one site, there are tons of others) or gift (through iTunes) some audiobooks.

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Buy her something from Amazon.[insert local tld here]. They even do gift wrap.

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They don't have amazon.[third-world nation] –  petehern Dec 1 '09 at 7:10
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