Gift cards have surged as a popular gift in the last year, due in part to the pandemic and supply chain issues. In fact, its estimated that Americans will spend a staggering 40% of their money on presents in gift cards this season, the largest in history.
There is a good reason for this. A lot of times, it is hard to pick out proper sizes and styles for even your closest friends and family members. The wrong ones (while good intentioned) lead to disappointment and the hassle of returns. Meanwhile, sometimes we all wait until the last minute, and don’t have time to confidently ship in time! But on the other hand - if not done correctly - gift cards can be impersonal and seem lazy. So how can you be your best Santa this year, while giving the gift of online shopping?
What Gift Cards NOT to GiveFirst of all, it should be assumed that cash is not an appropriate Christmas gift, unless there is a specific purpose or close family reason. It is the least personal way and doesn’t show any thought. Yes, this also goes for those VISA and other “cash cards”, which besides being uncreative are also laden with fees.
Next, its best to avoid some of the most common ones that no doubt you’ve gotten before. That goes for the three most popular ones - Amazon, Walmart, and Apple. While no doubt useful, they are also very generic and not at all memorable. The fact that you have likely already received a number of cards from both of these in the past shows that they are overused. Why not be a bit creative this year?
Target Your Recipients Interests - and Go Deeper
If the gift card receiver is your friend or family member, you probably have some idea of things that they are into. As discussed in our recent safe online shopping guide, you can use a number of fun tactics to get some ideas, setting up for a gift that can be fun - and opening up a new potentially favorite outlet for your recipient that they have never tried before.
Below we list a few examples of creative gift cards that give great fun and products, but that are perhaps not what you would first think of. Besides these, do some searches online and try to go beyond the most popular big chain brands and target some smaller outlets. They will love to get your business and be able to provide their products and services to the ones you love!
Fashion and ClothingWith so many interesting fashion brands online, your recipient might already have their favorites that you can go to, or find related ones. If you’d like to give the gift of confidence and top performance suit and shirt workwear, we hope that you would consider a stylish e-gift card from xSuit, which your recipient can use for an awesome new performance suit, or a shirt or tee that is no doubt different from anything they have in their current wardrobe.
In terms of accessories, shoes are one type of item that can be difficult to match the correct size for. So gift cards for shoes can be a great option to let your recipient choose the one that they really want. Again, try to avoid the most obvious brand sites like Nike and Adidas, and go beneath the surface to find something new. One site that is good is AllBirds, which offers super comfortable shoes of different types of both men and women.
Other accessories that can be great for gift cards includes jewelry, belts, or sunglasses. For the latter, we suggest a gift card from a site like Warby Parker, which offers all types of stylish glasses – both of regular and the sun variety.
Travel & Adventure
With travel looking to continue opening up more in 2022, there are a ton of fun gift card ideas for the ones who love to take journeys. Whether they are a business traveler who would love a anti-stain and wrinkle travel suit, or someone just looking to get away for a long weekend with the family, you can give them the boost to go ahead and have a memorable life experience.
For accommodations, sharing a gift card from AirBnB or Roomcard open up their horizons to go anywhere in the world that they like. Similarly, you could get them one from their favorite airline – so that they can get their frequent flyer miles, go on an unforgettable adventure, or even treat them to a special upgrade to first or business class.
Food & Drink
The best recommendation we have for food and drinks is to support your local restaurants, bars, and cafes. Most of them have been hit by the pandemic and offer some type of gift cards – both for eating in or delivery. The options are either to 1) pick one from their favorites that you know they love or bring you great memories, or 2) another one that you know they will like but haven’t tried. The best way to ensure they will never forget your gift is to introduce them to a new favorite place!
If your gift recipient is a wine lover, you can also get them a gift card from a place like wine.com, where they can select their favorite bottles of different types. You could also try to choose the bottle yourself, but as wines are a personal choice you might like to give them the option, perhaps with a conversation that includes a few that you think are great.
The Gift of Giving
Charity gift cards are an excellent gift for those that are tough to shop for, or who care about causes beyond themselves. In fact, it is known that giving to those in need helps boost the giver’s happiness levels, and also removes any clutter from items that may just be sitting around for the next year.
Global Giving is a great place to discover and give gift cards to if you’d like to give your recipient the ability to select their favorite charities. You’ll be able to search for initiatives and causes of all types. And an extra benefit is since they are for charitable organizations, most times such gift cards can be deducted as such on your taxes.