Guest Author - Lori Phillips
If you fret over your gift list every holiday season, gift cards can be a quick and simple solution. Gift cards have more panache than cash. It’s a one-size-fits-all present. But there are a few things to consider.
What a gift card might convey:
“I don’t know you well enough to choose a present for you.”
“I don’t want to spend time shopping for a gift for you.”
“No thought went into this gift for you.”
“I value our friendship at $___.”
But it also says:
“I want you to pick out a gift that you really want.”
“I’m saving you the trouble of having to return a gift you don’t want.”
“Choosing your own gift is part of the fun and part of my gift to you.”
“I’m afraid I might choose a gift that will disappoint you.”
“Even though I know you well enough to choose a gift for you, I can only afford $___ and at least it can be used toward buying something you’d really want.”
So what will your gift recipient think? It depends on how you give the gift card. The Japanese (and I happen to be Japanese) believe that how the gift is presented is part of the gift. My grandmother used to glow over beautiful wrap jobs because she knew they took some time, money and effort. My mother thinks that when it comes to presents, like people, what is inside matters more. I tend to agree with my mother, but when the present is a gift card, it’s good to put at least a little thought into how it is wrapped. Here are some options:
1. Pay a little extra for a special gift card holder. Stores sell them alongside the gift cards.
2. Make a simple, creative gift card holder. This year, I’m using a can opener that cuts the sides of the can to remove the bottom of some pop top soup cans, wrapping them up in festive holiday paper, inserting the gift cards and gluing the bottoms back on. My gift recipients will pop open the tops to get their cards! I’m also crocheting some small card purses. You can put a gift card for a coffee shop inside a holiday coffee cup or movie gift card inside a popcorn bucket. There are lots of links for novel and easier ways to present your gift card. 1. http://blog.giftcardrescue.com/gift-card-holder-ideas/ 2. http://www.creativegiftpackaging.com/Gift_Card_Holders_s/270.htm 3. http://www.creativegiftpackaging.com/Gift_Card_Holders_s/270.htm 4. http://www.ehow.com/how_4906760_gift-card-holders.html
3. Write a heartfelt note in the card holder or greeting card. Words and feelings *are* gifts, too. Let people know why you’ve chosen to give a gift card so they know it wasn’t a last-minute, thoughtless choice. “I wanted you to be able to have a little fun shopping spree on me.” “I wanted to give you something that was completely impractical and just for fun so I’m giving you this gift card from ___.” “I know you’ve been redesigning your bedroom so now you can get something that fits in with your new décor.” “You’re such a handyman so I wanted you to choose something from your favorite home improvement center.” “This will help you add to your DVD/music/memorabilia collection.”
Other gift card tips:
*Choose a gift card for a particular store that the recipient loves. This way, he or she is sure to spend your gift card on something for himself rather than for someone else in the family. Mothers, particularly, feel guilty spending on themselves and redirect gift money to buy something for their children or household. When my sisters give me a gift card, they are sure to give one from a store like Victoria’s Secret (or is that a gift for my husband?) or Crate ‘N Barrel (I love to cook) so I don’t buy something for someone else.
*Teens are the exception as they like generic gift cards to spend as though they have their own credit card. An American Express, VISA or Mastercard gift card makes them feel grown up and they can spend it at any store they like.
*If you give Itunes or video game gift cards, be sure your gift recipient can use them. They need to have the necessary technology (Ipods, cell phones, specific gaming consoles).
*Don’t give a gift card to someone who doesn’t like to shop.
*Don’t give an online gift card to someone who doesn’t use computers or trust online shopping.
Some people don’t like gift cards because they feel they don’t require any thought but you can dispel that notion by giving one properly—with a little forethought and thoughtful wrapping.