Sunday, December 20, 2015

Guilt-free Gifting with Gift Cards

She'd rather have a gift card...
The humble—or not so humble should you wish— gift card has been maligned for being "the easy way out". I will no longer hang my head should that be my gift of choice. Perhaps it's advancing age and a subsequent reality check, but there's a lot in favor of the gift card.

My contemporaries say they have too much/need for nothing/nowhere to put it/and shouldn't eat or drink it anyways. Others I know are paring down before they get over-stuffed or have a finely-hewn style and you would only be guessing. Then there is the cost of mailing presents. If you still like the personal touch of wrapping and sending them yourself, be prepared for sticker shock at the post office.

Santa and the post office may be in cahoots...

That's not to say there isn't a place for money.  A five-dollar bill looks like a fortune to a five-year-old. It will then teach her the value of a dollar, because $5 doesn't buy much these days. On the other hand, children usually have A List— and mean it. Back in the day, my favorite aunt was the one who actually got me something on mine.

The trouble with money is it's so easy to fritter away on Starbucks or mix it in with the grocery money or find it disappearing before we can say "trip to DSW". True, grocery stores will accept gift cards, but one usually thinks twice before giving up a gift card for milk and oj. Gift card to a fancy grocery store? Check. You can introduce people to the wonders of Trader Joe's or soften the blow at Whole Foods.

The good old Visa/Mastercard/AmEx gift card works for anything where those cards are accepted. The Amazon gift card is a good choice because Amazon sells just about everything, any time of the day or night. You can get gift cards from dream stores or for activities (movie theaters or sports palaces). Caution: don't try to be cute and tuck a gift card to Bowl-Mor inside a Tiffany box.

How can I hook this gift card thing into Allways in Fashion? You should present your gift card with a little style. Frame it inside a small picture frame. Use it as a bookmark in a special book. Tuck it into a little bibelot box. Put it in a passport holder or coin purse. Hide one in a deck of cards. Box a gift card turducken-style in the smallest of boxes inside a number of progressively larger boxes. This works best if the recipient isn't easily frustrated and/or knows your wicked sense of humor. Do you have any other "card" tricks?

There's no time like the present (December 20) to rethink this whole presents thing.
Don't believe Mrs. Claus; get a gift card

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