GiftDish: Making Facebook Birthday Reminders More Useful

Remembering to purchase gifts and send good wishes for birthdays, anniversaries, and other events is often difficult. While I remember the biggest events, especially those for close family, it is hard to remember extended family and friend’s birthdays. You have to make special calendar events for those big days, and if you don’t realize it’s coming up until the day before the event, it is a challenge to find an appropriate gift on time. Luckily, a new gift giving service called GiftDish was created to make your gift-giving life a bit simpler.

GiftDish is a service which connects to your Facebook account to keep track of the birthdays of all of your friends. Sure, Facebook already tells you everyone’s birthdays, but it doesn’t let you automatically send gifts. GiftDish, instead, lets you keep up with Facebook birthdays easier and send simple gifts (a note, personal video, or gift card) far in advance of the birthday. GiftDish also allows you to add events that aren’t on Facebook, such as anniversaries, graduations, or simply birthdays for people you aren’t friends with on Facebook. Read on to learn what I think about the service and how to best use it.

Sending a Gift

The first thing to check out when using GiftDish is what the service is best for – sending a birthday gift to a friend. You sign up for your account by linking with Facebook. There is no option for an account otherwise. While this is slightly problematic and I hope they eventually add an option to sign up without Facebook, it makes the app nice and easy to use. Rather than being greeted by an empty information screen when you first log-in, the home page is already full of upcoming birthdays for all of your Facebook friends. You can easily view any events on that date, in the next week, the next month or the month after that.

The timeline that shows all of your friends' upcoming birthdays, as well as any created events.

Once you know some of the upcoming birthdays that you need to send gifts for, the next step is to send the gifts. GiftDish allows you to send a note, video, photo or an electronic gift card. Simply make your selection, pay (if applicable), and GiftDish will make sure the gift is given on the appropriate date. You can also choose whether the gift is emailed or visible to all of the birthday person’s Facebook friends.

Send one of four gifts - a note, a photo, a video or a gift card.

Unwrapping GiftDish

One of the first things that you notice about GiftDish is the well-designed, inviting user interface. The creators of GiftDish have done a great job of creating a site with a theme that is incredibly well-designed and provides a consistent experience throughout the site. While the site is a bit heavy in terms of graphics, it all works well together and doesn’t affect the speed at which the page loads, so no complaints here.

One convenient part of this great design is the ability to bookmark an event no matter what page you are on. You can bookmark from the timeline on the feed page or from the page dedicated to the event. GiftDish saves the event in a special location and sends you a reminder email about the event.

Remember to bookmark events you would like a reminder email about.

While the Facebook linking will most likely take care of adding a majority of the birthdays you need to remember, what happens if you want to send a gift for an anniversary, graduation or any other event? If you’re relying on Facebook alone to tell you what events you need to plan for, you’re in trouble. The good thing is, GiftDish allows you to easily add additional events. You can receive reminders for these events just like any other. The biggest difference is simply that gifts are shared only by email, so you won’t put something on Facebook accidentally that the recipient didn’t intend to be online.

If the event you wish to send a gift for isn't a Facebook friend's birthday, it's easy to create a new special event.

One of the big draws of GiftDish is the ability to send gift cards, even at the last minute, for instant birthday gift gratification. There are only 21 gift card types to choose from, and most of them I had zero interest in, at least for myself. Many of the gift cards were regional or for more obscure places. There was a card for Groupon which I liked, and a few others, but improving the variety of gift cards available is definitely something that GiftDish needs to do as quickly as possible. Actually, for most uses, just iTunes and Amazon gift cards would cover almost everyone’s needs, and it’s a bit odd they didn’t include those.That being said, the way in which you order and send the gift card is nice. You can choose from different designs for the card and add a personal note, and the giftee can then print out the card to use in a store or use the card online if applicable.

Gift-sending services are not terribly common at this point, but there are a few out there so I was curious to check out how GiftDish stacked up. GiftDish easily had the best interface and user experience of any site I tried out. The biggest difference is definitely the gift-type. While the other services I tried focused on physical gifts and and delayed gratification, GiftDish focuses on all digital deliverables and instant gratification. While the selection on GiftDish isn’t as varied as the other sites, GiftDish is the only site that allows you to send a gift even on the actual birthday.

While the gift card selection is lacking, the customization abilities are nice.

Wrapping It Up

GiftDish is a simple and well-designed service that is great for sending digital gifts. While the selection isn’t amazing and the lack of physical gifts is something I hope GiftDish eventually fixes, GiftDish works really well for what it does. GiftDish allows you to track birthdays, set reminders and send simple gifts in advance or on that date for some instant gratification in celebration. I really liked using GiftDish and I sent a gift to a friend that he really enjoyed on his birthday.

GiftDish has been added to my arsenal and I’ve bookmarked the important birthdays over the next few months so that GiftDish will send me a convenient reminder. It’s a great application in my opinion, but as always I’m interested to see what you have to say. Does the lack of physical gifts change your opinion or are you satisfied with a smaller selection? As always, share your thoughts below.


A simple to use service that allows you to send a birthday gift (or a gift for any special occasion) all via the Internet. Send a simple note, a fun photograph or even send a gift card to use online or in stores.