Gift Cards May Seem Impersonal, But They Actually Make Great Presents

Woman with gift card.

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The holidays are rapidly approaching, and if you’re running out of present ideas for everyone on your list, don’t shy away from picking up a gift card or two. While gift cards may have a bad reputation for seeming impersonal or last minute, a little extra care will make them come across as quite the opposite.

First of all, you’ll want to make sure that you’re selecting a gift card for a retailer that your recipient would actually patronize. Someone who makes a point to shop small would likely prefer a gift card to a local retailer over one to a major department store, for example. There’s no “one size fits all” gift card that will please everyone, so doing a bit of surface-level research on the recipient’s preferences is key.

That said, if you’re participating in a Secret Santa and are stumped as to what your long-lost cousin would truly enjoy, a gift card for a meal delivery service such as UberEats or Door Dash is generally a safe bet. This year especially, many people would greatly appreciate a reprieve from cooking—and doing dishes—for just a couple of nights. Why not kill two birds with one stone by giving the gift of time and a delicious takeout meal? Just make sure that whatever service you choose operates in your recipient’s city. 

There’s no “one size fits all” gift card that will please everyone, so doing a bit of surface-level research on the recipient’s preferences is key.

You can also customize your gift card selection to fit your recipient’s immediate needs or daily schedule. Is your best friend preparing to adopt a puppy? Does your sister visit the same salad place for lunch multiple times a week? Your loved ones will be touched that you remembered their preferences and will likely make use of the gift right away.

Gift cards can also be a thoughtful choice for friends and relatives who will soon be moving, or individuals who have had to relocate. Those who are still determining their next steps likely don’t want to accumulate more belongings but will appreciate being able to treat themselves to a nice meal in the coming weeks or purchase something special once they do get settled. And since many gift cards can be sent electronically, you’ll be able to ensure that nothing gets misplaced amidst boxes.  

The last trick for making gift cards feel a bit more special is to always include a personalized card or note, too. This is an extra nice touch if you opt to send the gift card itself via email, as we all enjoy the act of physically opening something on Christmas Day. Pick up some festive stationery and go to town—your friends and family are sure to be touched. 

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