I have a love and hate relationship with gift cards.
It’s nice to give someone a gift card because they can then buy whatever they most want. I’m all for this. This works especially well with retiring co-workers, as a thank you or with my mother. I like receiving gift cards too because it means I can buy what I want. But really, gift cards are evil little things. Most people say that they’re impersonal and miss the point of giving gifts. That’s not why they’re bad though. The real reason is that I, and the people who I give gift cards too, now know the monetary value of our relationship.
Among my financial bracket $20 is a good solid gift card amount. It’s also probably more than I would have spent if I had simply gone to a store and bought something. That includes shipping and handling. I’m not rich enough to be considered cheap at this point. But a gift card that’s less than $20 usually looks cheap. If I’d just gone to Best Buy or Target I could have gotten someone a good DVD for $14.99 or less. A cool graphic t-shirt for $12. A Thor hammer for $9.99. A box of your favorite chocolates for $5. And none of those says “cheap, but a $10 gift card – the horror.
That’s why I say wish lists reign supreme as the best way to shop for that third cousin twice removed and almost everyone else. You make a list of the things you want, I look at list, pick something I know you want at a good price bracket and give it to you knowing, KNOWING, that you will like it. It’s a win-win situation.
I’ll tell you why this is all still in keeping with the holiday spirit. Making wish lists is like making a list of all the toys we wanted Santa to bring us when we were kids. It’s a throwback to our childhood. Where we are still the child making lists, but now we are also the adults, the Santa’s, bringing joy to each other’s lives.
I in no way believe any of that last paragraph. But it sounds good, right?