My extended family has always given gift cards and cash as presents – gifts that were much more valuable to me than even a beautiful piece of jewelry or outfit would have been. I have used this money to fund my frugal travels. I never thought the gift cards weren’t thoughtful gifts. The relatives who gave me general purpose cards would normally write me cards detailing what I could spend them on like, “Use this card to fund your next mission trip,” or “Have fun traveling!” This showed that my relatives were thinking about what I really wanted (and needed) not just buying a thoughtless or easy gift!
More than half of Americans agree with me that gift cards are a great holiday gift, according to a survey by Bankrate.com. The survey also found that just over half of Americans – 53 percent – prefer general-purpose gift cards. Even so, there is still a stigma associated with giving gift cards. Many people feel that not enough thought goes into giving a gift card.
Are gift cards thoughtless gifts?
Have you ever bought or thought about giving a gift card for a holiday present? Here are the 5 reasons I believe gift cards make awesome holiday presents.
1. Discounts Don’t Affect Value – When you grab a discounted “real” gift the gift receiver can’t always get the full-price back if they’d like to return the gift. If you get a discounted gift card through Cardpool.com or if you get a discount on a gift card through Groupon or Facebook and other social media promotions this will not affect the amount of money on the gift card. This makes the gift card a present for you too!
2. No Return Worries – Who hasn’t had enough of shopping once the holiday season comes to an end? The worst part of receiving a gift is when it’s something you actually love but it doesn’t fit, work, or is broken. This leads to standing in huge lines and rushing to return items before they go on sale or sell out. With a gift card you can relax after all the holiday stress and hit the mall once you want to again!
3. Something for Everyone – There are some relatives who are just really picky. For example, every teenager alive! Sometimes allowing someone to pick their own gift can help you to save your sanity while still allowing you to give a great gift.
4. You CAN Make It Special – If you think gift cards are impersonal, you can tweak it by wrapping your gift card creatively or adding a little twist. Buy a spa gift card for you and a niece, sister, or daughter and maybe even a restaurant gift card. Instead of just giving an impersonal gift card, you’re showing that you want to spend time together and have a great day out.
5. Quick & Easy – You can’t forget that gift cards are an easy and quick gift. If you’re not looking to score a deal, you can pick up gift cards to big retailers at most local grocery stores. Even if you go to a store or restaurant it’s a quick in and out. As an added plus, gift cards are a gift that appeals to everyone so if you’re not sure what someone would like a gift card is always a good option.
I’m not saying that there is never a time to buy “real” gifts but that there are times that gift cards can be just as special and meaningful.