Why You Should Give Gift Cards This Holiday Season

Colorful gift cards in person's hands

For years, there’s been a debate over whether gift cards are a good gift or a bad gift for the holidays (and beyond). The main argument for them being a “bad gift” has been the fact that gift cards lack certain personal touch. But there are plenty of reasons why a gift card is actually a great gift that can be made very thoughtful.

Worry not, though: the recipient of the gift card will most likely be thankful that they get to treat themselves to an experience or an item without having to pay for it. And in a year where supply chain issues may it hard to get actual items shipped, gift cards may be your best best to

Here are some other great reasons why gift cards make for excellent holiday presents. 

We’ve Got You Covered: GOBankingRates’ Smart Holiday Spending Guide
Prepare: Shipping, Wrapping & More Extras To Account For in Your Holiday Budget

The Proof Is in the Numbers

If you’re wondering if people like receiving gift cards as gifts, look no further than the statistics. In 2019, it was reported gift cards were the most popular item on people’s wish lists–for the 13th year in a row. Restaurant gift cards were reported to be the most popular, followed by Visa/MasterCard and American Express gift cards, with department store gift cards coming in at #3.

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One interesting fact: it seems most people prefer buying physical gift cards, but want to receive digital cards. A survey reported that 75 percent of gift card redemptions are in physical cards versus 25 percent in digital gift cards, but 55 percent of consumers said they wanted to receive digital cards like those they could add to their mobile wallet.

Shopping Tips: Wrapping Paper, Greeting Cards and More Holiday Items To Only Buy at Dollar Stores

Your Gift Is Guaranteed To Be Something the Recipient Wants

It always stings to watch someone open a gift and realize it’s something the recipient already has or doesn’t want. Maybe they tell you. Maybe they don’t. But there’s some residual awkwardness there. By getting someone a gift card, you’re guaranteeing a gift they’ve really had their eye on, or an experience they’ve never had. You also escape the faux pas of spending money on a gift they truly do not want. A gift card that can be used like a debit card or a gift card to Amazon (or another store with huge variety) virtually guarantees that the recipient will be able to get something they like. And they’ll remember that you were the conduit to a happy moment!

Find Out: The Best and Absolute Worst Gift Cards To Buy for the Holidays

The Right Gift Card Can Be Personal

Giving a gift card doesn’t have to mean you’re not giving something thoughtful. Maybe you and the recipient had a great time at a particular restaurant. When you get them a gift card or certificate to that restaurant, it brings back memories of the great time you had there and allows them to make more in the future.

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Or maybe the person you’re gifting has been talking about getting something special for months, and your gift card will cover the purchase or go toward the total balance. The right gift card can convey a lot of planning and care.

It’s Easy on the Environment

Sometimes a very elaborate gift can take a toll on the planet–especially if you’re shipping it. Even if you’re seeing someone in person to give them a gift, there can still be a big waste of paper and boxes. A gift card can be sent digitally with absolutely no impact on the environment. Even if you have to mail the gift card, it’s still significantly less packaging than if you were shipping a full box for a gift.

You Can Support Local Businesses

Sometimes the person you’re shopping for loves a local store or a restaurant, but you’re not sure exactly what they like, or you don’t live near enough to swing by and pick up something. You want to support that small business, but you don’t want to end up buying something that the recipient is lukewarm on. Buying a gift card makes it easy to support cool local businesses without missing the mark on a gift. Many local businesses will allow you to email a gift card or have them mail it if you contact them ahead of time. Maybe there’s a business your friend runs that you think would be something the person you need to get a gift for would like, too. This way, you’re supporting your friend and giving a cool, unique gift at the same time. 

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About the Author

Sam DiSalvo is an LA-based comedian, writer and actor who's performed all over the country. Her written work has appeared in numerous digital publications. As a copywriter, she's worked with a variety of major brands including GoldieBlox and Thrive Causemetics. Sam loves dogs and is currently perusing leisure suits to buy for her corgi mix, Barry
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