Gift Cards: Are They The Perfect Presents For Everyone On Your List?

Holiday gift cards: once upon a time, our choices were limited. Today, there are more gift card options to choose from including the traditional plastic type as well as the newer, hipper electronic type.

Whether the intended recipient is someone who likes to dine out at favorite restaurants, or somebody who deserves a fantastic spa getaway, look no further. No matter what your budget, you’ll find a surprising array of gift cards to suit every taste.

Why are gift cards so popular? Perhaps the biggest reason is that the recipient gets to choose whatever it is he or she wants or needs most. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 62 percent of consumers hope to receive at least one gift card this holiday season. CardHub, a site that sells gift cards on behalf of numerous online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores, says that the most popular cards this year include those offered by Amazon, Visa, AmEx, iTunes, Netflix, Target, and WalMart.

While gift cards take much of the effort out of shopping for Christmas, Hanukkah, and other occasions, it’s important to be sure that you pair cards carefully with their intended recipients. According to the Washington Post, Millenials age 14 to 29 are likely to prefer electronic gift cards over the traditional plastic type, and Millenials, members of Generation X, and Baby Boomers prefer general purpose type gifts such as those offered by Visa, MasterCard, and similar sources that allow the recipient to spend anywhere.

In a survey conducted by Bankrate.com, 48 percent of respondents said they would rather have general purpose cards over those for specific retail stores, restaurants, online retailers, movie theaters, and other venues. The same Bankrate.com survey showed that older people, such as grandparents and others age 65 or older, were the least enthusiastic about the idea of receiving a general purpose card, perhaps because these gifts can feel a bit impersonal. At the same time, these people felt that gift cards for specific venues such as favorite restaurants and brick-and-mortar stores made thoughtful gifts.

Despite minor disparities between members of various generations, gift cards in general make excellent presents for just about everyone on your list, from kids’ teachers to the postal carrier who makes an extra effort to deliver your mail perfectly, to a parent or significant other who’s a little hard to shop for. If a lack of creative ways to give holiday gift cards holding you back from giving one of the most popular presents, take a moment check out these videos for inspiration.

[Image courtesy of befrugal.com]