Giving a gift card as a Christmas gift is a great way to give someone a gift that they can use and choose items of their own that they personally like. But there are a few things to think about before you pick a gift card for someone to make sure the gift card actually gets utilized and is appreciated.
The first thing you should factor in is the availability of stores in the area that the recipient lives in. For example, is a Best Buy gift card a great idea if the nearest store is 60 miles away from the recipient? Sure, they can possibly use the gift card online for purchase, but just keep in mind store availability for the recipient, or else the card may just never get used.
Next, think of what the recipient would enjoy. A gift card for a restaurant they have nearby, like Olive Garden or Pizza Hut or Applebees? Or do they like clothing, and would prefer a gift card to JC Penney or Macy’s? Or would they just like a gift card to Wal-Mart, so they can use it for groceries and other cool items the next time they go shopping? Keep in mind the interests of the recipient you have in mind when you are thinking of giving someone a gift card for Christmas.
Also, think of the amount you are planning on giving them. The best way to figure out how much to put on the gift card is to think of how much you would have preferred to spend on the person had you bought them a gift. If $20 is your spending limit, then you can choose between the gift cards that would actually be beneficial to the recipient at such a low amount. They can’t buy much at Best Buy, but at Subway they could treat themselves a few times, or at Wal-Mart a $20 gift card could make a decent dent. For high priced stores, a smaller amount of a gift card likely won’t go too far, leaving the recipient to pay for a majority of their purchase out of pocket, which is fine, but not really the goal of a gift card. A smaller amount on a gift card to a more expensive store is somewhat like just giving someone a coupon for Christmas- not really a huge wow.
If you just are plain stumped on what gift card to give someone for Christmas, give them a prepaid Visa or MasterCard instead. The dollar amount will come in handy for paying bills, shopping anywhere, or just be handy for emergencies. Just keep in mind that prepaid cards cannot be used at gas pumps (you have to go inside to pay) and cannot be used in most hotels to pay for the room. But otherwise, a prepaid card can come in quite useful, and will be appreciated, no matter the amount on it.