CHARLES TOWN – There’s no question that gift cards and gift certificates earn disdain in some circles. Too impersonal, these critics say.
But a number of Spirit readers who weighed in on the question this week say they have no problem with gift cards and gift certificates – getting them or giving them – and that these gifts offer important advantages over other kinds of holiday presents.
“Love gift certificates!” says Shepherdstown’s Texie Roden. “Very few people know what I actually want so I appreciate the opportunity to pick for myself.”
Roden’s favorite kind of gift cards or gift certificates to get? That would be iTunes cards to download her favorite music and gift certificates for spa treatments. “They’re especially nice because I normally wouldn’t spend the money on myself.”
Ann Fern of Charles Town notes that with many of us on tighter budgets, gift cards for a meal, movie, massage, book, jewelry, even an off-the-beaten-path idea such as a gift certificate for a music lesson or a trip or special outing is likely to be greatly appreciated.
“A lot of folks aren’t buying themselves little things that they need or want,” Fern said. “Gift certificates give them that excuse to splurge a little.”
For many gift givers, giving a gift certificate or gift card lets them feel more confident about pleasing the recipient.
“My daughters and son – all in their 20s – love gift certificates because Dad sucks at buying them anything,” said Albert McGilvray of Martinsburg. “I’m 60 – not hip to the latest trends.”
Gena Johnson Brown, also of Berkeley County, agrees. “With a 17-year-old, half the time I have no clue what he wants and neither does he,” she said.
Joy Johnson of The Woods in Hedgesville says her mother relies on gift cards for the men in their family. “She knows that if she gives them a gift certificate to Lowes or Amazon that they’ll be able to select something that they will really like and use versus buying them something that she hopes they will like and use.”
Anna Sokel of Sokel Makeup in Charles Town says gift cards and gift certificates can be horizon expanders. “It is always great to get a gift certificate to a store or restaurant that you like to frequent, but it’s also wonderful to get a gift certificate to a place you may not normally go to – like a restaurant you have never been to or that would be a special treat to go to or better yet to get a gift certificate for something that you normally wouldn’t do for yourself.”