When I first met my husband, he was challenged in the gift-giving department. The gifts he gave his friends year after year were reams of white paper and blank video cassettes.
I kid you not.
His reasoning: they are things people always need and can use. It wasn’t until he proudly shared this with new friends we’d made after we’d married, and they laughed uncontrollably while I woefully shook my head that he began thinking something in his equation might be missing.
I’m happy (and relieved) to report that my husband has evolved greatly in his gift selection ability. Still, many of us get stuck about what presents to buy, whether for loved ones or business colleagues. I have a new favorite gift to give. Previously, I would have shrugged it off as too impersonal since it doesn’t show that I know your favorite color, scents, designer, etc…. But having witnessed genuine glee after giving this gift to a number of people, I think it tends to hit the mark. I’m talking gift cards.
What’s great about gift cards is that they allow you to be personal but not presumptuous. Whether your friend loves books, iTunes downloads, a local restaurant, movies, dolls, cosmetics, gardening, or power tools, there’s a gift card out there for you to give to them.
While it’s fun to give gift cards to just about anyone, I love giving them to people I have a friendly relationship with, but whose specific likes and dislikes I don’t really know, like certain babysitters, the school bus driver, and teachers. School-age children tend to feel like they’ve hit the lottery when given a gift card to one of their favorite stores.
Gift cards can be purchased directly from retailers, both at their physical and online stores. To give a gift to the planet, you might consider purchasing the American Express Give Green Gift Card, which can be used just about wherever American Express is accepted. For every Give Green Gift Card purchased, a seventy cent donation is made to American Forests, a non-profit that works to protect and restore forests, and “enhance the natural capital of trees.”