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The No-Fail Gift

The No-Fail Gift

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.”

Read more: Christmas, Conscious Consumer, Family, Green Gifts, Hanukkah, Holidays, Holidays & Gifts, Life, Smart Shopping, , , , , , , ,

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Terri Hall

Terri Hall lives in the Hudson Valley with her family. In addition to writing, Terri works with public television and radio stations/networks in the area of new media, and leads workshops on authentic and empowered living.


+ add your own
2:18PM PST on Jan 31, 2013

Gift cards suck. I'm sorry, no offense, but to me, getting a gift card show exactly how little someone cared and how little effort they put into my gift.

Big disappointment in my eyes.

9:11AM PST on Jan 19, 2013

gifts cards are perfect for those hard to please people, those with allergies. etc.
jsut dont' get them from stores they might not shop in!

4:07AM PST on Dec 21, 2012

I thought this was leading to something fun and interesting, kind of a let down. yes, gift cards are nice but it doesn't require much thought to go into it

3:21AM PST on Dec 11, 2012

gift cards are definately no fail gifts. people love them. i know the gifts cards are being used by the recipients because i'm nosey and i copy down the card number and check the balance. and it is often 0 dollars.

10:31PM PST on Dec 3, 2012

Krassi, you may not have gift cards in Bulgaria but you have Ben Cross. I'll send you some gift cards if you send me Ben Cross :)

10:28PM PST on Dec 3, 2012

In Australia gift cards have a time limit, usually a year - some people are trying to have that changed, not sure if it's happened yet. The retailers were really making a killing as many people forgot about their cards and then they expired without being used.

1:54PM PST on Dec 2, 2012


2:04AM PST on Nov 30, 2012

Elaine D. i agree with you...

12:09PM PST on Nov 29, 2012

Gift cards are nice.

7:45PM PST on Nov 10, 2012

better idea now that they cannot expire by law

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

don't have a water retention problem, but you never know when the knowledge will come in handy!

Thank you for the article.

Make a cup of tea.....


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