Using gift cards as an actual gift, especially a Holiday gift, is something of a contentious topic… but it shouldn’t be! Gift cards can be a fantastic idea for a present, and we should reconsider the way we think about them, especially now, with Holiday season closing in on us.
Let’s take a look and find out why buying gift cards for Christmas presents isn’t nearly as bad an idea as some might think it is.
Why the stigma? The cons of gift cards
The core argument against gift cards is that buying them instead of a dedicated present is an easy way out and requires little thought beyond picking the store and spending money. It isn’t untrue, and while there is nuance to be found, a poorly done gift card can be received poorly as well.
A weaker argument is that a gift card forces someone to shop at a specific place, which would be way less flexible than just giving somebody some money. There is merit to it… however, there’s also an argument to be made that giving someone just money would actually be crasser than buying a neat gift card.
Finally, gift cards require the gift recipient to make the effort of getting something they’d like, which isn’t everyone’s idea of a perfect present. Now the person you’ve given the card to has to go to the store and potentially experience a choice paralysis trying to get the most out of the gift.
The flipside: the pros of gift cards
First of all, gift cards are perfect if you aren’t in the hobby the recipient is, and you don’t want to risk doubling up on something they already have, but still want to support their passion. A gift card solves that instantly and sidesteps the potential awkwardness.
If you pick the right store, or service, giving somebody a gift card basically requires them to treat themselves. Of course, you DO have to pick the right store. A PlayStation gift card won’t do much for someone who plays exclusively on Steam, and a board game fan will likely get more mileage from a local game store credit than from a shoe store. Similarly, an audiophile would probably enjoy a Spotify or Tidal gift card more than a Netflix, even though Netflix has tons of great content.
It also shouldn’t be ignored that gift cards are convenient and disposable. Whether physical or digital, a gift card takes little to no space at all. Thanks to their usually very distant expiration dates, a recipient can cash them in at their leisure: when they have the free space to put a new electronic gadget, or when they actually have some time to enjoy a new game, or a new show.
The benefits for you!
For all the convenience they offer to the recipient, you get something out of the deal as well. First of all, unless you’re aiming for physical versions, gift cards are very easy to buy online, and usually you also enjoy instant delivery, making them great as last-minute gifts. Furthermore, digital gift or subscription cards are a great option if you’d like to treat somebody who lives far from you. E-mailing somebody a gift code is faster, safer and, well, cheaper than using regular mail of using a courier.
Are gift cards a good gift?
If the stars are right, a well-aimed gift card for Christmas might go over better than a normal present. The most important thing is to make sure the giftee is someone who would welcome a gift card. If you know them well, it should be easy enough to figure out. After that, all that’s left is buying the gift card for the right store or service.
If you’d like to stock up on gift cards for this year’s holiday presents, take a look at the selection on G2A.COM.