Is it cool to give gift cards or a cop out?
Great question. Prepare for a long-winded answer.
When I was a little girl who still believed in Santa, I would get beyond stressed over making out my Christmas list. Indecisiveness was an early childhood trait. Strawberry Yoo-hoo or a pouch of Tropical Punch Capri Sun? Malibu or Antarctic Barbie? I just couldn't choose.
And what if I wanted to change something? By the time my letter reached the North Pole, that was it. I was getting that Cabbage Patch Kid (girl, with brown hair, no freckles or overalls please) whether I still wanted it or not. So it took a lot of patience, revisions and edits until I finally felt comfortable enough with a list that would stick. *There were no gift receipts or easy returns and exchanges to the North Pole back then. Plus, I didn't want to piss off Santa and get a Charlie Brown rock for Christmas the following year. Good grief.
Back to your question. Now, in my adult years we have wish lists, which are, umm, awesome. It's like an open letter to Santa that you can send to all of your friends and relatives, cluing them in to what you really want. Here's my problem, Jen. Just like my former 5 year old self, I keep changing my mind, thus altering my wish list. It's become an obsession. One day it's high priority, the next day it's off the wish list completely. Sometimes I worry that my wish list items are being judged. Letters to Santa were confidential, I don't want my loved ones to think less of me because I really really want that ceramic reindeer handle garlic press. So this year, gift cards have been my wish list gift of choice, which has its own set of pros and cons.
Pro - You shopped for everyone else, now you get to shop for yourself.
Con - Asking for gift cards is kind of like saying "Hey guys, I don't like where you normally buy gifts for me. Give me cash to these stores that I actually like".
Con - You're also making them spend a certain, round denomination. No one wants a gift card for $17.84.
Pro - For an indecisive girl like me, I'm able to ponder my presents long after Christmas is over so I can buy exactly what I want when I want it, or wait until there is something I do want.
Con - Some gift cards expire, some have fees. Sometimes gift cards are to stores that aren't in a convenient location for your giftee. Do research. Oh, and don't buy a $25 gift card to a store where everything is over a hundred dollars, therefore forcing them to cough up cash on their own gift. That blows.
Pro - Gift cards are easy to buy, easy to give and wrap. They are also lightweight and will not break Santa's back.
In summation, Jen, I believe that gift cards are a stylish and safe way to celebrate your loved ones during the holidays, providing you read the terms and conditions and get the right card for the right person. That, and I don't really want a ceramic reindeer handle garlic press, so please don't anyone get me one.
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