please note: over the past few weeks, i took a random and very non-scientific poll and found that wee ones and tween ones actually desired gift cards because spending them makes them feel "grown up." teenagers opted for the freedom that comes from cash gifts and adults tended to prefer actual gifts, unless the gift cards were redeemable at French bistros, book stores, or gas stations. that said, i offer the following smockgrinch moment.
the way i see it, iffin you aren't going to put any sincere thought into your gift giving why not just fork over the hard cold cash? i mean gift cards -- c'mon why bother?
just because retail chains are offering more creative and whimsical plastic cards for your hard earned green, doesn't mean that the "gift" is any more thoughtful. should we be flattered that the card giver put thought into the design of the card itself? if it took twenty minutes to decide between the gift card with dancing peppermint sticks and the one with the prancing elves, wouldn't that time have been better spent buying an actual gift?
to add insult to injury, by giving a gift card over cash, you are limiting the poor recipient's shopping choices to boot because they cannot spend that $15 widgets gift card at gadgets which is the only store that sells the blasted gizmo they really wanted anyway. and as far as i know, a gift card is one of the few gifts that actually loses face value with time. and here's another kick in the pants. many retailers actually count on gift cards expiring, getting lost or otherwise going unused. and no matter how big i am on profit, as a consumer that notion just chaps my hide.
when you give gift cards over cash all you're really doing is admitting to the fact that you have no gift giving imagination, that the recipient isn't worth your time and effort, and that you do not in fact care enough to send the very best. so if you really want to show how much you care, please send cash.