questionsare gift certificates boring gifts?

vote-for32vote-against
vote-for6vote-against

Gift cards tell me "you aren't thoughtful enough to come up with a good idea to gift, yet you were thoughtful enough to restrict me with the said gift to a said store."

It's too hard to say whether teens view it in such a way, but that's my take, at least.

vote-for11vote-against

I can remember some pretty crappy gifts as a teen and would have loved the cash instead. Gift certificates are all we give for Christmas now.

vote-for4vote-against

Agree with @ohcheri. I you can't find something for someone, get them a gift card. And any gift card I get that I don't like, I sell on eBay at a discount. People buy them fast if priced right. The fastest I sold one was less than 3 minutes. Talk about fun!!

Note - This is also a good strategy for White Elephant Gift Exchanges. If there are no good prizes to steal, take the biggest gift card in the room. Sell it on eBay, drop it in a plain envelope the next day, and walk with cash.

vote-for11vote-against

Teens? Yeah, a gift card to a general store (like Wal-Mart) or department store is a great idea.

Me? As an adult, I hate getting gift cards if they're just supplementing my income. A Wal-Mart gift card just goes toward groceries. What a gift that is. A really thoughtful gift card is one that surprises me, matches my interests, and lets me go to a store I wouldn't normally spend money at (even if the merchandise is cheap).

One thing that's really fun is getting a gift card like a Wal-Mart gift card, with a stipulation attached (e.g. "Must be used for fun" or "Cook a nice steak dinner"). Then, there's an obvious thought attached to the gift card.

vote-for3vote-against

Gifts certificates are great ideas, all the way around. While not the most sentimental, they'll appreciate it when they come home with whatever it was they wanted anyway. They get what they wanted, you got your gift shopping done. Win-Win.

vote-for6vote-against

If you are careful with selecting the stores the gift card come from, I think it's OK, especially with teens. Select one from a place you know they shop at already. Don't do what my mom does, and give a gift certificate for a store they wouldn't ever shop in, and would never cover an entire purchase. As an example, mom gets us a $25 gift certificate, for a restaurant we hate, that's over 125 miles away, that will never cost less than $50, no matter what we order. We always end up re-gifting those.

vote-for3vote-against

Depends on your kid, but I would have loved cash/gift cards versus some of the odd gifts I got as a teen. And I know of one boy (9 yrs old) who prefers gift cards because he loves the process of choosing his own gift.

Just make sure it's a store where they would like to shop. There would be nothing worse than trying to spend a gift card at "Mary's Emporium of Super Cutesy and Highly Breakable Figurines." At least for me.

vote-for3vote-against

I love gift cards. I get excited to open them up.

vote-for5vote-against

Give an envelope of cash instead. As a kid I'd rather have opened an envelope with $50 in it than an envelope with a piece of plastic I'm told is worth $50.

vote-for3vote-against

I'd rather have cash. So often you get a bunch of gift cards for $25 each to different places. I have a hard time spending them caseu I alays end up spending more money at that store to get what I want and use the whole card. Gift cards are not at gift. They cost me money.

vote-for3vote-against

@narfcake: That's not necessarily true. My boyfriend and I plan on making a "date night" basket with gift cards to the movies, a little Italian place, and a chocolate shop down the road. I think that has plenty of thought behind it. It's all about whether you put thought behind where you're getting the person a gift card from and whether they'll enjoy it.

vote-for3vote-against

In general, I agree with @narfcake, but @staceroo has a good point too. Gift cards included as part of a theme gift seems thoughtful.
Reading these comments made me realize that as a kid, I would have loved gift certificates that didn't restrict me to a particular store unless it was a store I already spent a lot of time window shopping in (when I was a teen: Tower Records). Now, not so much.

The difference is that as a kid, I would have spent a gift card on something for ME. But now that I'm grown up, I'd do like @omnichad and use non-specialty store cards to to supplement my income and buy groceries or get birthday gifts for my kids that year.

Thanks for your insights. I think I'll get them mall gift cards (good for any store in the mall), and modify the date-night basket idea into a 'travel' basket--with small, travel-friendly gifts, B&N gift cards so they can get books for their nooks,and whatever else I think of.

vote-for3vote-against

Instead of store gift cards, I give Visa gift cards or American Express Traveler's Checks. If it is for a Teen, no instruction is needed. For adults, well, we seem to remember that thing someone else needed, but we didn't have the money at the time. In this case I always take into consideration their likes. I look online for cheap get aways and include iteneraries of a few places close to home, and a few things to do around these places. While I don't always supply enough money for the whole excursion, I always send enough to cover the extras like the attractions I added or restaurant I included the menu for. Once, my family all contributed to a package for my brother to take his wife. We all paid for different things. They had a great time away from the kids.

vote-for3vote-against

14 and 17 isn't all that young. I say have a normal Christmas, but do it either before or after the trip--preferably after so it's something nice to look forward to when you get home. That beats a gift-card-only Christmas in my opinion.