When I think about what I want to get the people in my life for the holidays, gift cards are honestly the last things on my mind. Until the last couple of years, I had always thought of gift cards as being the cheap and easy way out. If it’s the thought that counts, then what does a gift card say to the person we’re giving it to? That we know a shopping mall or store that they might enjoy shopping at? Or that we didn’t care to spend any real thought or effort on getting them their gift?
As if you couldn’t tell, I feel better about buying personal gifts–ones that I think will make a real difference in the person’s life, even if it’s only in some small way, and may be different from what the person would think of on their own. But I have become aware that for many people–givers and receivers alike–gift cards are often at the top of the list when it comes to what people hope to receive during the holidays.
Gift givers love buying gift cards . . .
for the people on their lists. Gift cards are easy to purchase and come in a wide variety of price ranges. They’re also available for a huge number of retailers–both brick and mortar and online businesses. And of course, when buying gift cards, givers rarely must deal with the inconvenience of the item they’ve come to purchase being out of stock. (I don’t think I’ve ever seen a store where their gift cards were out of stock.) And since gift cards are never “on sale” like other gifts, the giver doesn’t feel compelled to wait for a sale or to shop around for the best price, because the denomination on the card is exactly what they get.
Recipients of gift cards . . .
love them because they’re fun to spend. A gift card in a youngster’s Christmas stocking means their holiday will last that much longer, because they get all the anticipation and fun of a shopping trip to spend their cards on whatever they want. And, they get to feel “grown up” by using a method of payment that looks an awful lot like what adults get to use all the time–credit cards.
Grown-ups love them too, of course, because it means they’ll never receive a gift that is the wrong size, wrong color, or just not interesting to them. It’s one less gift they’ll have to pretend to like, even if they already have three of them at home.
Now you can even get a Facebook Credits card: you can read more in my article Facebook Credits Card Available at a Local Retailer Near You.
The Final Call
When all is said and done, do what your heart tells you. If you know the person pretty well AND you have a good idea for a gift that has the potential to make a real difference in their life, by all means, choose that gift. It will likely make more of a difference to the person than what they might select with a gift card on a whim.
But if you’re short on cash for what you really want to get for the person, if you don’t know the person that well, or if you just want to get a fun “extra” for your child’s stocking, then a gift card can be an excellent choice.
One Final Thought . . .
Be careful to consider your options when choosing a gift card. Different merchants have different terms for their cards, and selecting the wrong one could cost the gift recipient the value of their card.