Charity Jackson

Variety of gift cards offered at local Walgreens

To gift card or not to gift card

December 6, 2018

Gift giving comes with the joy of the holiday season. The holidays are about being with family, friends and showing kindness and care towards loved ones, and gift-giving is one way to express that. Some people choose gift cards in order to give the receiver the decision of what they want or because it seems like the more practical option. But do gift cards make as good of a present than one chosen by the person giving the gift?



Go for the gift card

It has happened to nearly everyone at some point in their life. Their birthday or the holiday season rolls around and they receive a gift from a peer, co-worker, or loved one. Although sent with good intentions, the gift gets left in the back of the closet for who knows how long.

In reality, no one can go wrong with a gift card. If the giver does not know someone well then it is much easier and simple to give a gift card, rather than getting them something they will not enjoy. Junior Elisabeth Daley said, “If I don’t know a person as well and I can’t find out what to get them, a Walmart gift card will benefit them more because they can get whatever they want instead of some piece of trash I get them.” This applies especially to someone that likes items such as clothes or makeup because it is hard to know someone’s ideal size or shade they need. Sophomore Israel Kraling said, “One time my grandma got me a sweatshirt four sizes too big and I would have much rather preferred a gift card.” According to Wallet Hub, “In 2015, 50.4 percent of consumers view the factor of how gift cards allow recipients to select their own gifts as what influences them to buy them.” This is illustrating how gift cards are not purchased out of laziness but more so careful consideration. Instead of also gifting someone an annoying return or exchange trip it’s better to just get the person a gift card to their favorite store because they know what they like best.

Purchasing a gift card still requires the person to spend money, time, consideration and effort in addition to giving the receiver something meaningful and the freedom to choose whatever their heart desires. This can be further emphasized in a variety of ways. If a friend really likes a certain or more expensive restaurant, a gift card to that place will help them out on their next visit. Many gift cards also come with a meaningful message written on it that illustrates how the giver feels about them. This shows how important the person is, rather than some object that will sit in their home and cause them to forget who gifted it to them. Some people feel that getting a gift card is lazy, but the website found here, shows a variety of creative ways to add meaning and demonstrate a greater effort.

A poll done by OHS Magnet on Instagram,@ohsmagnet, found that 77 percent of the 137 followers who took the poll think gift cards are a good gift. The term gift card has the word gift in it for a reason. They are just as meaningful as any other present, the gift givers just want the receivers to benefit as much as possible on the special holiday or birthday.


Gift cards are a no

Whether it is a favorite book from an aunt, video game that a best friend knew would be enjoyed or cookies personally baked, it shows that the gifter spent their time and effort to search for things that is liked by the receiver. Gifts give meaning and leave moments to cherish. However, a gift card sends a slightly different message for the holiday season.

Most people decide on gift cards when they do not know what the other person likes. However, asking the person or someone who knows them, like a parent or friend, what they like or what their interests are shows that they are willing to take the time to get to know them and they truly care about what is being given. When gifting a card with money, it shows the person how much is being spent on them. This is essentially giving a value to them. Junior Leah Tucker said, “I like gifts that have meaning behind them and gift cards usually don’t.” A picture frame with a meaningful picture in it can show that someone cherished the memories they have had together. Gifts can also be more fun and creative than putting money on a card. OHS Magnet’s Pinterest has a Christmas board with many ideas that can be very fun to make for others. Sophomore Cade Woltman said, “Why get a boring card with money when you can get a meaningful gift?”

According to Finder research, over 970 million dollars in gift card money ended up being unused in 2015 alone. Research from CEB towers shows that 65 percent of gift card users will spend 38 percent more than what is on the card. Gift cards are “traps” that retailers use on consumers to bring in new and old customers that most likely spend at least a few dollars over the amount. Time-money says, “Researchers have found that when people are given “play money” like gift cards, they’re more likely to spend it on stuff they don’t need.” It would be better to give a gift that will leave a nice memory, than have them buy something for themselves that will most likely go unused. OHS english teacher, Mr. Daniel Leer said, “When we give a gift card we think it is a benefit for the receiver, but in actuality, it probably benefits the business more.” People are better off gifting something personal that they picked out, then making someone find something for themselves.


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