Gift cards get a bad rap because they're not really a gift, but rather a placeholder for one. When you give a gift card you come across as lazy and unthoughtful even when you have good cause. Fortunately, all it takes is a little message that explains your reasoning to turn a gift card into something really exciting. Dr Susan Newman, writing for Psychology Today, explains why.
Image: Hani Arif.
One of the best gifts my wife and I have ever received was a packet of gift cards from my parents. They were for local restaurants and came with a promise to baby sit our very young children. These were not just gift cards, but the possibility for a couple to spend valuable "us time" together, something that my folks knew was scarce in our busy lives.
When I was younger, I often requested gift cards or money so I could pay for something too expensive to ask for. Even a message that said "to help you buy that CD burner" (or whatever I was aiming for at the time) would make the gift seem thoughtful. We give gifts to make people happy, and part of that means demonstrating that you're thinking of them. If you're going to give a gift card this Christmas, a little context can go a long way.
Can't Think of a Good Holiday Gift? Give a Bad One [Psychology Today]