Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Thank Goodness for Gift Cards

Honestly--what did we do before gift cards and online shopping?

Actually, I know what I did. I contacted the parents of my 9 nieces and nephews, tried my best to find out what they liked, shopped till I dropped, and shipped packages all over the country. It was exhausting, and it stressed me out getting things there ontime. One bad year in Texas, I think I spent nearly as much on Federal Express charges to get the packages to their destinations as I'd spent on the gifts themselves. Worse, I really had no idea if the kids liked anything, because I only see them every two to three years at best. And the problem of "do they like it?" only grows more difficult as they get older. Who knows what a teenager really wants? And they're nearly all teenagers now (except for one or two)--and two are in college already.

Enter the gift card. What a blessing! I can send Amazon gift certificates to Michigan and Best Buy cards (five of them!) to Ohio. Actually, the Best Buy cards are kind of cool. This year, they offer them packaged inside holiday CD jewel boxes. I bought them in Framingham, and I plan to wrap and label each one, ship the box to Ohio, so my brother-in-law can stick them under the tree. And one nephew just wants cash to pay for gas to go skiing.

I still get to shop, of course, for all the "locals"--family, friends, employees, colleagues. I actually like it when I'm in the mood, and I like to shop in locally owned businesses whenever possible. But as the time grows shorter before the holiday, it's nice to know I won't have quite as many packages to mail. Okay, I know gift cards aren't as personal, but when you only see a teenager every three years, it's kind of tough to know what kind of socks they want, right? Now, I know the kids will like what they get, because they'll pick out their own stuff.

One exception, though: the five year old. Because five year olds still like toys in wrapped boxes. You really can't go wrong with that.


Blogger Rebecca said...

Gift cards are WONDERFUL......... :)

I don't do them for my family, but I do them for my friends. :)

9:32 AM  
Blogger Alison Rose said...

Really--they're great. I mean, if you really know someone and can find something they'd love, go for it. But otherwise, I think letting people choose their own stuff has its merits.

Although sometimes you don't actually want anyone to know how much you spent on the gift, so gift cards are definitely not the way to go then. :-)

12:13 PM  
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