questionsdo you think gifting gift-cards for christmas is…

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For many recipients, it's a relief. There are those who ask why you wouldn't just give cash because it can be used anywhere but the gift card's inflexibility can be a blessing. It can encourage someone to get something that is more of a luxury rather than something practical.

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I love them! Because then I get to choose what I want, and that really feeds into my power and control stuff... oops, I mean, how sweet, we all know it's the thought that counts.

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since most of the gifts I receive are items I have no use for, and get returned for store credit anyway....

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I love getting them and feel guilty giving them.

On a cheapskate note - I can usually score a $20+ item for half off - but can't do that with a gift card and giving a gift card for less than $20 just feels wrong.

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Remember that CD your uncle gave you that you either a) already had or b) didn't want? Thanks to itunes cards I never have to be that uncle. If you happen to come across the perfect gift, then great. If not, cards are the perfect fallback.

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I am odd man out here??
Yes -- gift cards are a cop out.

I hate 'em. Just hate them to pieces.
Gift cards have the tiny benefit that they may be more secure going through the mail. Beyond that I can't think of anything.

If you don't know what someone wants, but want to give something, then use cash or a check. The gift cards can sometimes be a hassle to use. If not used fast enough the card issuer may recoup its value in fees. If there is a balance left, it either goes unspent or forces someone to check the value and pay the difference.

And if I get one?
Yech. I'm as happy with a card, a hug or some thoughtful act. If you wanted to give me a gift, let it be thoughtful and considerate not a reflexive act of obligation.

But that's just me.

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I find they're especially useful for people like my grandmother. The last thing she needs is more stuff to fill her house so for the last ten years I've been buying her gift cards for the nearest grocery store. It's something she is guaranteed to use and it won't add clutter.

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Tradition in my family has always been to give one inexpensive truly thoughtful item, then the thing we think the recipient really wants! Gift cards would qualify for the the latter, but it is best accompanied by something that represents your feelings.

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If you DO decide to get a gift card...do the recipient a favor and buy 'em a prepaid VISA or something like that...don't force 'em to shop at a store you think they'll like :)

But I wouldn't say it's a cop out. I'd rather get $50 bucks than a $50 whatchamacallit that I will never use.

FUN FACT: "Whatchamacallit" didn't show up as misspelled lol..

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Yes. But I love getting them anyway.

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They're great for those you don't see very often, as you may not know what tastes they have in gifts. In particular, the Visa or Amex gift cards are awesome, because they can be used anywhere.

And I always appreciate receiving gift cards!

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I'd be grateful for getting anything in this economy.

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I'd only give one under certain conditions:

1) I don't really know the person, but maybe know they like a certain store (store card), always use their iPad (iTunes card), or just moved into a house (Home Depot), drink coffee/tea (Dunkin), etc...
2) It's a stocking stuffer
c) I've already given the "thoughtful" gifts, and instead of getting crap that will sit in a closet, and ultimately end up in a garage sale the coming Spring, I'll get a gift card.

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i think the etiquette enforcers are the ones that mention that gift cards are impersonal, not thoughtful, bad ideas...but i don't think they're a cop out and i've given them. for example i give my nephew a gift card to best buy or something similar every year. he can hopefully use it, or trade it for another gift card he can use better. it started when he was a small kid and he was into pokemon video games but i didn't know what color was "in" or whatever. anyone remember pokemon red, pokemon white, etc? i was busy...
so yeah i give gift cards sometimes when i want to gift something to family that i do care about but don't know their immediate needs/wants
bad etiquette? so what!

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It depends...

Some people would really rather shop for themselves and a gift card or even cash is the best thing (eg. I'm saving my girlfriend's daughter the hassle of having to return whatever I get her so that she can get what she wants, and I'm not making her shop at any particular store with cash).

On the receiving end, this summer I finally used all but one $40 gift card from the last four or five years of Christmases and birthdays (and only lost $10 on the valueless Tower Records card). I now carry the $40 card in my wallet so the next time I'm at that store I may remember to use it.

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My friend made his gift-card giveaway interesting for us, his friends.

He bought 4 gift cards to 4 different restaurants: One with $50, one with $35, one with $25 and one with $15. He allowed us to pick our own cards, but we obviously could not see the denominations. Eventually, we ended up spending the gift cards on each other.

Generally, I agree that gift cards are pointless gifts of obligation rather than inspiration. I am constantly on the hunt for gifts for people year-round. When I find something that makes me think of that person or how well that person will like an item, I get it and save it up. I think it is impossible to think of and find the perfect gifts for people between the day after Thanksgiving and the 24th.

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Worst "gift" ever. Stuck with going to a particular store and paying whatever lousy price they have. Best plan save it until next year and give it to the lamer who likes to make decisions for you.

Cash or check = best gift.
Box with something in it = next best.
Gift card = lame and very expensive book mark.

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@atomicplayboy: Sell it. Just DON'T sell it to PlasticJungle. Check the questions if you care why I wouldn't recommend 'em.

You can get almost the entire value. You'll take like a $8 hit on a $50 card [if they buy that brand]. Hell of a lot better than the alternative though.

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I love gift cards. Admittedly, if all a husband/wife ever gave their spouse was gift cards, that would shoe (in my opinion) a lack of effort and thought. For the majority of people I receive gifts from, gift cards are my preference unless they come up with something absolutely amazing.

"Wow... another mug... thanks."

knowwhatImeanVern?

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I "fill in" with gift cards, but usually to places like Starbucks or Chipoltes, maybe Panera.

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The older I get, the more I want and give Amazon gift cards.
Now, bday's and the anniversary with the 'ol ball n chain, I'll go ahead and do the shopping for them...on Amazon :)

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I'm on the fence with this issue. I feel like getting a gift card seems like the gift giver doesn't know the recipient well enough to get them something they would want. I pride myself in buying gifts that people will want, whether they ask for them or not. I pick up hints on things people want or need and look forward to the thrill of the recipients' faces when they open the gifts.

That being said, sometimes it's nice to receive gift cards from a restaurant I wouldn't normally go to because I can't afford it. However, I expect the gift giver to know me well enough to know what restaurants I like and which ones I don't like. Additionally, I will, on occasion, buy gift cards as wedding gifts. I usually don't have much to spend, and I'm sure a newlywed couple would enjoy going out to buy a larger item with several gift cards than get several small utensils. I just don't think buying a $10 whisk is too exciting.

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To reiterate: If the gift card is to a store the receiver goes to anyway/would like, it seems reasonable--especially if they've been okay w/gift cards before, like me, in case you were thinking of getting me one ; )

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Nope. I'm engaged. Graduating college in 23 days, and broke. Gift cards (as well as the cold hard cash) are as good as ancient Aztec Gold!

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gift cards are a good present, but i think cash is better because when you get a bunch of gift cards for Christmas and their all to different place is becomes a hassle where as with cash it accumulates so you can buy something big and shiny...

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I usually gauge the person, if I feel compelled to give them a gift but don't feel they value the idea that "its the thought that counts" I just give a gift card, or if its one of my closer friends/family who I know is saving up for something and I can't afford to buy it entirely I just give Visa giftcards so it can be used towards whatever it is. These days I feel that theres less people in general who actually value the idea of "its the thought that counts".

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@killswitchdh: Congrats! I graduate this week as well. What college?