Are gift cards good gifts?

Are gift cards good gifts? I asked, you answered.

Are gift cards good gifts?

Are gift cards good gifts?

Are gift cards good gifts? I say yes! Here’s my logic.

A few weeks ago I took to my Instagram story to raise the debate: Would you rather be given a gift or a gift card? I was just genuinely curious as to what other people thought because I LOVE receiving gift cards, but I always feel weird giving them. I don’t want my friends or fam thinking I’m lazy or thoughtless. But personally, I prefer gift cards because I enjoy the experience of spending them – doing things or buying things I otherwise wouldn’t. Surely other people feel the same, no?

To my surprise (and delight), 51% percent of those who responded to my Instagram poll a few weeks back agreed – they’d rather receive a gift card than an actual gift. A tight race for sure, but honestly not what I expected seeing as how I always feel so guilty buying them for others – you know, because of the whole lazy and thoughtless perception thing.

Maybe people like gift cards because they like experiences, too. After all, 68% of my poll respondents said they’d prefer to receive an experience over a material good. Or maybe people just like being in control of what they receive (48% of poll respondents want their friends/family to ask them for ideas vs. surprising them). Either way, I think we can all agree that gift cards are not the worst presents you can give OR receive. If you still feel like you have to prove you’re a bit more “thoughtful” than JUST giving someone a gift card, here are some ways you can personalize the experience.

Speak to a Person’s Palette:

Does the person you’re purchasing for love a specific type of food? Is there a restaurant they’ve been dying to go to? They say the best way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, but a little bit of knowledge as to what they actually like can go a long way.

Show You Know Their Interests:

Is the person you’re purchasing for a fitness buff? Then maybe they’d love a Nike gift card so they can buy themselves some gear! Do they love to travel? actually offers gift cards, who knew?! And if they’re into attending events, StubHub offers gift cards, too.

Share Something You Love:

When all else fails, a gift card to a restaurant, store or experience (like a cooking class or wine tasting) you’ve enjoyed is another great option! Tell the recipient why you loved it and why you think they’ll love it, too! So long as there’s a little background story it won’t seem random or thoughtless.

Honestly, the best way to personalize a gift card purchase is to listen. Don’t just wing it! Anytime my loved ones talk about something they want, would love to do, etc. I make a note in my phone without them even knowing it. That way I’m not scratching my head at the last minute!

Join in the on coversation in the comments! What do you think? Do you like receiving gift cards? Do you despise it. Enlighten me. 🙂


  • Reply Shelby Gill December 9, 2017 at 11:49 am

    I agree 100% with every single statement in this blog. I love to receive gift cards, but I am also always hesitant to gift them. I think the reason I love gift cards is because I usually want something that is too expensive to add to my Christmas list. I also note what other people say in casual conversation in reference to items or events they would like to recieve or go to. So one tip for making a gift card “thoughtful”, is to simply add a card or note for the idea of what they can spend it on. I know my sister really wants the Dyson hair dryer but I can’t afford to spend $400 on every single person, although I would love to! A $100 gift card makes the dryer 25% off, so something she’s been dreaming about since it came out is now more realistic for her to buy for herself.

    • Reply Michelle Zavodny December 12, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      YES! Such a great point! I’m the same. I like expensive things, but I don’t expect people to buy them for me. So when I get a gift card, it feels like a nice little discount on whatever it is I’ve been eyeing!

    • Reply Autumn December 12, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      I totally agree with this as well! I love putting a gift card towards something more expensive that doesn’t go on sale OR waiting until it goes on sale and getting more bang for my gift-givers buck. 😉

  • Reply Alea Stokes December 10, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Most of the time I would rather get/give a gift card for a present just because I never know what people like and I hate getting the wrong things! Also like you said I enjoy the experiences and I love being able to pick out exactly what I want 😂😂

    • Reply Michelle Zavodny December 12, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      We’re totally on the same page! They’re the gift that keep on giving… well, until you spend all the money! LOL

  • Reply Autumn December 12, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    I would actually much prefer gift cards. I, like you, enjoy the experience of shopping for an item – guilt free!

    I’d be interested to see how many of the 49% who said gift cards weren’t good gifts feel that way only because it’s what they’ve heard and been told. Hmm…

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