Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Blogmas: Day 20—Last Minute Gift Ideas—Gift Card Etiquette

With time at a premium this week, there is one failsafe gift that will quickly tick the final names off of your holiday shopping list—a gift card.   Though they are often maligned as a copout—either bought at the last minute or purchased for someone you feel socially obligated to “care” about—gift cards can be a thoughtful gift that demonstrates your appreciation for someone you love.  When you are about to purchase a gift card for a loved one, there are a few rules of thumb you should keep in mind.

Only get your loved one a gift card to a retailer they actually frequent.  Contrary to popular belief, it is not the thought that counts when giving someone a present.  If you give someone a card to a store they never visit, the implication is that you don’t know your loved one.  Getting an ill-conceived gift is almost as bad as not getting a gift at all.

If you are gifting electronically, gift generously.  As a rule of thumb, the more impersonal a gift is the more you should spend.  If you send your brother an Amazon electronic gift card on Christmas Day, it wouldn’t be tactful to give him just $25—you’ll appear to be cheap in addition forgetful.  Even if you bump the denomination up to $35, the implication is that you recognize how impersonal the gift is . . . so you’ve thrown in a few extra bucks so your brother can get an extra paperback.  Ditto if your gift is going to be late.

When in doubt, Target and Amazon are safe bets.  If you have no idea what kind of gift card to get your loved one, you can’t lose by getting a Target or Amazon card.  Your buying options are almost limitless from rather retailer, so you’ll be guaranteed that your loved one will find something they love.

What are your “rules of thumb” for gift card giving?  Let me know your guidelines in the comments.

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