Gift cards have another great advantage over other types of gifts. They can be used to purchase practical items. We generally think of gifts as something fun and somewhat frivolous, things that recipients would love to have but might not spend money on for themselves.
But the fact is that more and more families are struggling with unemployment and foreclosure and trying to make ends meet. In such a situation, even the most grateful recipient is unlikely to entirely suppress fleeting thoughts that the cash spent on a nice but unneeded present could have gone to feed the family for a week.
Nowadays, gift cards are widely available for discount and big box stores as well as grocery stores. As much as a gift giver may want to splash out on some extravagance for a loved one, it may well be the case that nothing will be as appreciated as a gift card that can cover a couple of weeks groceries or a year of school supplies.
Most people value gifts more for the thought that was put into them than the monetary value. Gift cards combine the thoughtfulness of a well-chosen present with the flexibility of cash, allowing recipients to get things they want and need.
It eliminates the need for recipients to stand in long exchange lines with post-holiday crowds or for harried post-wedding couples to sort through duplicates and figure out what has to be returned. Gift cards are neither lazy nor crass.
They are a thoughtful, intelligent solution for giving a gift that will be most appreciated by and most useful for the recipient.