These days you hear all sorts of bad things about gift cards, that they're impersonal and thoughtless and that nobody really wants them. Is it ever okay to give a gift card? Yes! There are most certainly times when a gift card is not only appropriate, but will be very appreciated. If you find yourself in any of the following situations, relax and go ahead and give a gift card without worrying if it will be appreciated!
One of the times when it is certainly a good idea to give a gift card is when you're shopping for a teenager. Kids between the ages of 12-19 can be notoriously difficult to shop for because they are not as communicative about what they want as younger kids and they have very definite opinions about what they like. If you want to give a present to a teenager that they will be sure to like, go with a gift card or gift certificate. If you know the teen in your life enjoys reading, choose a gift card to a bookstore and if you know they enjoy listening to music on in Ipod, pick up an Itunes gift card! If you have absolutely no clue what they're in to, play it safe and go with a prepaid Visa card that they can use wherever Visa credit cards are accepted! When buying for a teenager, letting them choose their own gift will always work out better than trying to choose which Christmas sweater is the most "hip" this season!
If you are looking for a housewarming gift, you can definitely bank on a gift card being well received! Whether the card is for a place like Wal-mart or Home Depot, there is always something that the new homeowner is going to need to buy and giving a gift card is a much better gift than giving them a set of kitchen towels that won't match their dÃ©cor. Most of the time, when people buy a new home, they have some fairly specific ideas of what they want their house to look like and it's best to leave the decorating choices up to them!
New parents are always finding something new that needs to be purchased and money may not always be in good supply when all of the medical bills start coming in! If the new parents have a gift registry, the gift card may not be the right choice, but for the parents that choose not to create a registry, it can be just what is needed. Many times the things that new parents need the most cost more than the average person is able to spend on a gift, so the new arrival often has an overabundance of clothes and toys. Why not give a gift card than can be used to offset some of the cost of a larger ticket item like a high chair or even a couple of packages of diapers? As a mother of 2 little girls, I know that gift cards were a welcome sight at my baby showers! The same theory applies to a newly married couple that choose not to register at a store.
There are most certainly times when it is impersonal and un-creative to give a gift card. At the top of this list is giving one to your spouse unless he or she has specifically asked for one. Whether for an anniversary, birthday, or Christmas, it is not okay to give a gift card to your husband, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend. Doing so says that you either don't pay enough attention to know what they like or that you forgot until the last minute and just grabbed a gift card while you were grocery shopping! You should also never give a gift card to a friend unless you are absolutely certain that it will be met with gratitude because if there is anyone in your life that you should be thoughtful when shopping for, it's a good friend.
If you have made the decision to purchase a gift card, be careful that the type of gift card that you are buying is appropriate. One of the biggest mistakes people make when giving gift cards is to choose one that the recipient either won't or can't use. This is especially important to consider when mailing a gift card to someone living in an area that you are unfamiliar with. You don't want to send a gift certificate to someone for a book store that they don't have in their area or a Cheesecake Factory gift card to a diabetic! Just because you're giving a gift card doesn't mean that you still don't need to be thoughtful in your selection, rather you should be even more careful so that the gift is received with joy and gratefulness. Good luck and happy giving!