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Go digital for last-second gifts this Mother's Day

You're running out of time to pick up a gift for mom. But if she has a mobile device, giving electronic gift cards and apps is a breeze.

I hate to break this to you, but Mother's Day is just a few short days away. And unless you enjoy greater control over the properties of space and time than the rest of us mere mortals, the window of opportunity to find, buy, and ship mom a present is slamming shut.

Before you resign yourself to future family get-togethers full of awkward silences and smoldering resentment, remember that we live in a digital age, when last second gift-giving can be a snap--particularly if mom is already the proud owner of a mobile device like a phone or tablet.

An electronic gift card that helps mom load up her digital device can provide a badly needed last-second save of your gift-giving bacon. It's especially simple for iOS device owners: There's a Send iTunes Gifts in the upper right hand menu of the iTunes Store. You can pick between an emailed gift card or a printable one--I prefer that latter option to telling mom to check her Gmail. Apple gives you options between $10 and $100 for the amount of your gift, and mom can redeem it for anything she likes--music, movies, apps, and more. For Android, Google Play gift cards are available at a variety of retail outlets; The Google Play story can also direct you to online retailers if you're pressed for time. Amazon also has electronic and physical gift card options for its Kindle devices.

If you'd like something a little bit more personal than a gift card, it's easy enough to gift specific songs, movies, and the like. We dealt with last-minute online gifting for apps, movies, music, and books in extensive detail last holiday season--that guide will tell you how to gift electronic goodies on a variety of platforms. I'm especially partial to the iOS approach where there's a built-in gifting option right in the iTunes Store.

When it comes to specific apps, which ones will bring a smile to your mom's face? Well, that depends on your mom--what she likes and what she does with her mobile device. In the above video, I offer a few suggestions that include the Cozi Family Organizer (available for iOS and Android), the iPad-only Nimble Chef, Flickr (available for Android and iOS), the iOS-only iPhoto, and Puzzlejuice for iOS. (A note about Nimble Chef: It's a free download and it comes with a few included recipes, but many more are available via in-app purchase. This is definitely one app that you'll want to give along with an iTunes gift card.)

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