That Darn Lump Of Coal I Just Received Is Another Gift Card

the giving of gift cards as presentsSomeone will most likely either give you a gift card, or you’ll pass one off yourself for simplicity sake. It’s suspected that some have a collection of them for the purpose of redistribution, they hoping you don’t receive the same one back.

If you have a large group of family and friends, or coworkers, the chances are good that certain unwanted gift cards has been passed around for years. According to a recent survey based on gift buying consumers, over 80% percent planned on easing their way out by purchasing at least one gift card.

Understandably, these cards are the perfect solution for that hard to buy person, or someone you don’t really care about or like, or know nothing about. As a result, the gift card market is surging in popularity for what’s now referred to as the most flexible and convenient gift, although those who receive cash may dispute this.

The Gift Card Moral
Some claim giving out gift cards are just tacky. In the past, they have been critiqued as impersonal and lazy, a completely thoughtless gesture, and what insult was behind that particular type of gift card that was received.

Surely, gift cards are given because you don’t want to devote much thought into the purchase, right? They’re most likely just re-gifting a gift card which they themselves received, as the provenance of any gift card is not known.

However, some gift card purchases are considered thoughtful, and gifted by those who wants the recipient to find that perfect something that they like.

Others will have a lot of people to shop for, so it becomes extremely difficult to predict what makes everyone happy. Guessing wrong isn’t fun, just ask anyone who’s got that spoiled scowl on their face.


Aside from the potential waste of time, an off target bad taste unwanted gift can signal that the giver doesn’t care or understand who or what the recipient wants, which sends a worse message.

What a well thought out gift card and its amount does is it helps to manage that risk, this provided that the card is purchased from a retailer whom the recipient likes.

Much like it’s predecessor, giving out cash, it could be made personal as well, by attaching a note which suggests possible uses for the gift card, which gives the recipient maximum flexibility.

Gift Cards Are Quickly Forgotten
The givers of gift cards always run the risk of not receiving the proper credit for the item once it’s purchased by using that gift card. When actual physical goods are given as gifts, they’re easier to remember as the recipient will associate the present with the giver, e.g., “what a nice scarf and mittens Auntie gave me.”

The identity of the gift card giver is always harder to remember, particularly if one receives multiple gift cards which is now the norm, and just sets them aside for a post holiday shopping spree.

Unlike the old-fashioned gift certificates, there’s usually a no “From” which can be associated with these gift cards. Most often, most will confess they have no idea once the card is redeemed, who they got it from.

The Boring Of Giving Gift Cards
Even if the identity of the gift card giver is known, they’re usually given credit for just a portion of the gift. Research have shown that the recipient will usually apply the amount towards a bigger purchase which usually exceeds the actual value of the gift card.

While it’s great that a portion of the purchase gets deducted from the total bill, the giver only gets partial credit rather than buying them the entire gift.

Giving a sweater which is worth $50 as an actual present may be viewed as more of a thoughtful gift, than giving a $100 gift card which ultimately helps to offsetting a $150 purchase of buying two sweaters.

The Easiest Gift To Give
Whether giving a gift card is viewed as thoughtful or not, doing so ultimately depends on a variety of factors, which includes the nature of the holiday, as a gift card for a Hardware store makes perfect sense for Christmas or a birthday, but not for Valentine’s Day.


What’s also taken into consideration is the gift giver’s track record. A gift card which is received from a serial gift card giver may become a source of annoyance. The nature of the relationship between the giver and the recipient should also be taken into account.

At the very least, what’s generally agreed upon is that gift cards are definitely a lot more thoughtful than receiving no gift at all.

Always A Good Alternative
So if we ever find ourselves short of ideas or time, gift cards are always there as a solution. We can always include a personal note about how much that person means to us, and that the gift is a recognition of them as a person, and not just a piece of plastic because we have no idea who they are.

So get creative and make it as caring as possible. The intent isn’t to criticize those who prefer giving out gift cards because of convenience, but to view the process from a completely different perspective.

Those little plastic cards are here to stay and will always remain a good option, provided you put a bit of effort in to make it personal, giving out that warm and fuzzy feeling.


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