There’s this weird stigma around giving gift cards and cash as gifts.
Some say that they are not personal enough. That they don’t convey the same meaning as a hand-selected gift.
Let’s look at that point for a second.
There are thousands of stores in any given town. Millions of businesses. Probably trillions of different products out there.
If somebody is going to pick out a gift card for a friend or family member, they have to decide from which store to purchase that gift card.
I sure wouldn’t get my “diva” friend a gift card to LL Bean. I wouldn’t get my mommy friends a gift card to a local pub.
Some of the coolest gifts I have gotten is gift cards to places that I love to shop – because the giver thought about where I’d like to shop. I’d absolutely die if I got a gift card from Modcloth, but not everybody likes Modcloth or even knows about it.
When you buy a gift card for somebody, you think about what they like. You may not pick out a dress for them, because you trust that they know their body type and preferences better than you do (and this is true for almost everyone); but getting them a gift card to a store that they really like takes, a lot of thought.
One Christmas, my mom and stepdad gifted me and my boyfriend a gift card to Walmart in a significant amount. We were moving two months later, so that gift card was well thought out and an amazing gift; when I moved (broke and maxed out), I used the gift card to buy a futon for our under-furnished apartment, and groceries to get me through to the next payday.
Think about it for a second; have you ever received a gift card and been disgruntled because the giver didn’t put enough thought into it? (If you’re nodding yes to this question, you’re probably a sociopath. Just sayin’).
Just don’t do this:
Cash is all around a desirable thing to have.
Cash is a little trickier, because it’s hard to remember who gave it as a gift. But, unless it’s my dad, who forgets about my birthday until I remind him, upon which he promptly pulls out his wallet and hands me a few bills, I’ve never been disappointed with cash as a gift.
Cash typically gets the worst rap as a wedding gift.
However. I don’t think it’s tacky at all to ask for a cash as a wedding gift and here’s why:
- Wedding’s are freakin’ expensive
- It’s not 1952.
What I mean by that last point is that people usually live together or at least live on their own before they get married. The point of wedding gifts, originally, was the set the happy couple up for moving in together after their wedding.
That is, by now, somewhat of a moot point. Most couples I know live together before their weddings (if not, you are in for a big, ugly SURPRISE) and have usually accumulated toasters, bed sheets, towels, china, etc.
Now. There are always things that people want, and that is where the wedding registry comes into place. But, if you are a last minute shopper, and the registry has been exhausted by all other guests, and a gift card is not an option, I am sure the newlyweds would be more than happy with cash.
I have no qualms about giving cash if the couple doesn’t have a big gift registry. But I’m not going to just hand them a wad of bills, like my dad might.
How To Give Cash and Gift Cards
Since the concern is that cash and gift cards aren’t personalized enough, the goal when giving these things as gifts is to personalize it as much as possible.
- Designate the cash for something (Ie: I didn’t know what size you were, but I remember that you really liked that ring at XYZ store, so I thought I’d give you cash toward it instead)
- Go through the store that you bought the gift card from and make a collage of things that you think your friend or family member would have liked from the store. Put it in a card, and say something like “I couldn’t decide, but here’s what made me think of you”
- Buy something personalized to put the money or gift card in. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but make sure to think of the person you’re giving it to.
- Since cash is less acceptable than a gift card, give the recipient cash in a gift card form – ie, a prepaid Visa card.
What do you think – is cash and gift cards an inappropriate gift? Why do you feel the way you do about it? Any other ideas to give cash and gift cards tactfully?