Thursday, December 2, 2010

What Does a Gift Card Say?

Missy Tippens, here. Now that Thanksgiving is over, and the turkey has digested and the gravy gone straight to our hips , the Christmas season is upon us. If you haven't already started shopping, I imagine you will soon. I've done a good bit online already. But I'm in the midst of making shopping lists and would love to hear your opinion. What do you think when someone gets you a gift card? What does it say to you?

I usually buy them when I know someone likes a particular store but have no idea what to get them. I also buy them when I need to mail a gift because they're so easy! But I have to admit, there have been numerous times I've run to the grocery store or drugstore to look at the rack of gift cards and purchased one last minute for a birthday or even Christmas.

If someone gives you a gift card, do you feel like you've been a last minute thought? Do you think I should add those gift cards to my shopping list this year?

By the way, as our gift to you, we'll be offering a Christmas story with daily chapters starting in mid-December!


  1. So looking forward to your story. Now on to the gift card question.

    The past year or two, with the economy so bad, we have used gift cards as a way to give little splurges that would otherwise not be there in the lives of our family.

    Now, I will admit some family members have gone to requesting gift cards in lieu of gifts and that feels a little weird. But I understand it. A lot of gifts these days are about needs not wants. I read where people are going back to giving practical things like sweaters rather than clutter. I kind of consider a gift card to be a practical way of giving a person the fun of shopping without the economic stress.

    Better stop now...

    Peace, Julie

  2. If someone gave me a gift voucher from my favourite store shows they have thought about getting me a gift yet couldn't quite decide what to get though if I got a gift voucher for both birthday and christmas that would show they didn't make the time to buy me a gift. So gift vouchers in moderation is better

  3. I feel very mixed on this question Missy...I struggle with this every year more and more it seems when I'M giving gifts, lol! I always feel as if I shouldn't give it for a couple reasons. 1) Like you said, it's the only thing I can come up with because I don't know what to get them (an all else fails type of option) and 2) they can see how much you spent. I'm not sure which is the bigger problem in my mind, but they both really bother me. I know that sometimes you can make a "package" of items (like for my bff's birthday this fall I made a College Survival Kit of all her favorite things) and it's not that expensive (around $15-20), but there's quite a few items and it looks like you spent more. Whereas you'd probably spend around $20 on a gift card and they'd know.

    I have to admit that there is something about opening a real gift compared to a gift card. However I'm not against gift cards. I agree with Sketch Girl that if ALL I got were gift cards I wouldn't like it, but in moderation not so bad. I understand too that I'm in a weird transition stage still from kid to adult, so I'm used to getting "toys" of some kind still I'd say, but each year it gets less and less because that's not what adults get. So there ARE more gift cards now.

    I think I just talked in a complete circle, Missy, but.....maybe that answered the question?
    Can't wait for the story, ladies!! Always, always a good time : )

  4. Some very good points! Thanks, ladies, for your input.'s a great way to give them the opportunity to shop, yet, don't overuse it. And know that sometimes it's just more fun to open a real gift!

    :) Did I summarize well?? :)

    Julie, I've started asking for cash from my parents and inlaws. I use it in bits all year long (until it runs out!). I use it for movies with friends and dinner out when we run out of the weekly eating-out budget money. I use it for clothes I want but don't need and for Starbucks. I use it for the extras. So I'm sure your family appreciates the splurges you allow them!

    Sketch Girl, that's a really good point. I need to keep track of how many gift cards I give one person.

    Hannah, I agree about them knowing the amount. I've found it's often better to buy some items on a great sale so that they actually get more (or appear to get more). When I buy gift cards, I probably spend more than I normally would--for that very reason. Don't want to look cheap! :)

  5. I have given gift cards - not so much had one given - but i do like to give them to a store that i KNOW the person likes, and do want them to use it for something they would not otherwise buy. and yes, i would not give it to them every time i want to give them a gift, as moderation in all things is right.

  6. Missy -- my nephews (aged 9-14) love their gift cards! The family all knows the store they like and they rack up some impressive totals when they get several cards. I was hesitant at first as it seems a little impersonal to me, but I think it might be a generational thing.

  7. I like gift cards as long as they are for a places I would use. I give gift cards to my nieces and nephews because I have no idea what to get them and they never know when you ask them. Also the last couple of years, we've been giving gifts to charity in honor of our kids because they never know what they want. And with so many people hurting in this economy, I think it makes sense to brighten someone else's Christmas rather than buying something that we really don't need.

  8. I love gift cards, too. And I actually prefer to get them than something I won't use or like and would have to return to the store. I know some people think you do't think about them if you get them a gift card, but I'm the opposite. (I guess I've gotten too many dud gifts) My kids love them, too.

  9. I think they cared enough to give me a gift. I hope it's a store I love or a general store like Walmart or Target. But if it's not, perhaps I'll take a chance in a store I've never tried before.

  10. I adore gift cards, maybe because I've gotten so many bad gifts in the past. I have a SIL in who buys clothes she likes for me, but they don't fit me and look bad. Now that I have my Kindle, I've told everyone to get me Amazon cards so I can buy books. I managed to make my birthday Amazon cards last about a month.

  11. Oh, I hadn't thought about Amazon gift cards. What a great idea.

  12. The last two gift cards I received were for Amazon and the movie theater. I was thrilled. It was a great chance to treat myself. As other posters have said, I think gift cards in moderation are fine, just as long as they're for a place the recipient will actually shop.

  13. Thanks, everyone, for your input! It does seem like more and more they're becoming a standard gift at kid birthday parties.

    You know, another thing that's nice is sending e-gift cards for when you're trying to get a gift to someone quickly! And that's amazingly easy.

    Merrillee, I quit giving gifts to my kids' teachers years ago and started making a donation in their honor to the United Methodist Children's Home in Decatur, GA, instead. I would print out a letter on Christmas stationery for the kids to sign and take to them telling them about the donation. I've done that for Sunday School teachers, family members and others as well. And this past year, I did it for my editor and agent.

    I also like to make gifts to World Vision in honor of people. They'll send a little card.

    Melanie, I like to give a gift certificate to a movie theaters as well as a restaurant as a wedding gift sometimes, because I know often when you're first married, you can't afford a night out! :)

  14. I will be looking forward to the Christmas story. Now as to gift cards...I would rather receive one of those instead of getting a present and I use them for Christmas gifts as well as birthday gifts.I see nothing wrong with it.


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