In Defense Of Gift Cards As Christmas Presents
I know many people who feel that gift cards are not a very personal gift. They think that making the effort of picking out a particular item or experience for someone is far more thoughtful than “just” buying them a gift card. I happen to disagree and it’s taken me a while to feel that my getting someone a gift card isn’t just taking the easy way out. After much consideration, I can say that I truly find gift cards to be a very considerate gift for nearly anyone. I will always be a big fan of both giving and receiving them.
The fact is, for many people that we buy gifts for, we don’t necessarily know what they already have. We also might not know what they like. I find this to be especially true of co-workers, my kid’s teachers, bus drivers, coaches and baby-sitters. That doesn’t mean that these people don’t deserve a gift but it also doesn’t mean that just blindly buying an item and hoping they don’t already own it is better than giving them the chance to buy something they actually want. I think it’s actually kind of thoughtless to just buy something for the sake of having an actual item to give instead of giving a gift card so they can get something they can use.
For anyone who thinks a gift card is too impersonal but doesn’t have any other ideas try a gift card to a restaurant or movie theater. I think it’s a bit more personal if the gift card provides an experience rather than the chance to buy something in a store. If you know for a fact that someone enjoys a particular store, though- it can be a very wanted gift. For example, I know the teaching assistant in my son’s class is a big fan of Target because I have seen her there several times. Buying her a gift card to Target this year was a total no-brainer.
If you find it hard to just hand someone a card with a gift card inside, maybe tape the card to a smaller item from the store you bought the gift card from. I have bought so many daycare teachers gift cards from Bath and Body Works and attached them to a candle or hand soap. This way, you still have something to hand them along with the gift card and it doesn’t feel so sterile.
Any gift should be welcome and appreciated and in my opinion, there is really no such thing as a thoughtless gift. Even if you “only” give someone a gift card, you thought of that person and were generous enough to consider them at the holidays. Anyone who thinks gift cards are somehow rude are very mistaken.