Disaster! You've forgotten your mum's birthday, you're out and about and there's no way you can get a gift, or even a card, to her on time.

Well soon, you'll be able to relax as all you'll have to do is fire up Facebook on your phone and buy her a gift on that.

'Buy her a gift on Facebook!?' Yes, Facebook Gifts will soon be coming to the UK. And the gifts are real, not virtual.  

Facebook has teamed up with a number of retailers including Starbucks and is expected to sell a range of gifts such as ice cream, cup cakes, chocolates, magazine subscriptions and gift cards. 

The ordering process is fairly simple in that you go onto the recipient's timeline, click on the Gift icon on the top of the screen, choose your gift from the current selection on offer, add your message onto your chosen gift card and click on a button to place the order. The recipient will receive a gift notification and a request for their delivery address, once Facebook have the required information payment is taken and the order is fulfilled. If they want to swap their gift for something else within the same price range or choose a different colour or style they have the option to do so before their gift wings its way to them. 

Facebook Gifts are even dispatched in special Facebook packaging and include a gift card complete with a personal message from the sender. Gift notifications will appear as a post on the timeline which can be viewed by whoever can usually see that particular person’s posts in accordance with their privacy settings. There is an option to disable the gift timeline notifications as per the usual Facebook policy. 

If the range of gifts and prices are appealing, it’s easy to see how Facebook Gifts could be a popular way of sending a small something via the social network giant. One of the beauties is the flexibility of sending your people a last minute birthday present without needing to have their address on hand as well as the option to send it to wherever they may be at a particular time. The recipient dictates where the gift is sent and they also have the choice to effectively turn down a gift, it they don’t provide their delivery address within two weeks of receiving their gift notification. 

Currently Facebook Gifts is available in some US cities via the Facebook website and an Android app, it is rumoured that an iPhone app is under development. Gift prices range from a $5 Starbucks Gift Card or a Cookie Greeting to several hundred dollars for a Stereo system. There is no indication as to when the Gift service will be rolled out in the UK except for a notice on the site to say it will be ‘coming soon’.