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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Respectfully Yours: Gift card acceptable present for holidays

Friday, November 29, 2019 by JACQUELYN YOUST Special to The Press in Focus

Dear Jacquelyn,

I’m trying to get a head start on my holiday planning. I’m debating whether or not to give gift cards as holiday presents this year. I would like to know if giving a gift card is too impersonal.

Dear Reader,

Gift certificates have a reputation for being unthoughtful, but they can be great choices because they allow the recipient the freedom to choose his or her own gift. Whenever you give someone a gift card, you thought of that person and were generous enough to consider them at the holidays.

Purchasing a gift card isn’t just taking the easy way out. When our shopping lists get long and we don’t necessarily know what the person already has or likes, a gift card is better than blindly buying an item and hoping the person likes it or doesn’t already own it.

If you find it hard to just hand someone a card with a gift card inside, tape the card to a smaller item from the store you bought the gift card from. This way, you still have something to hand the person, along with the gift card and it doesn’t feel so sterile.

A personal touch can transform it from seeming like you didn’t know what else to get, and showing you had that person’s tastes in mind.

Bank gift cards are acceptable, but these are not as personal as a store gift card. While they offer more flexibility, bank gift cards are generic.

Instead, take a little extra time to find out at which stores your recipient prefers to shop. He or she will appreciate and recognize that you put extra effort into the gift.

If you are still struggling with the idea that a gift card is too impersonal but don’t have any other ideas, try a gift card to a restaurant or movie theater. It’s a bit more personal if the gift card provides an experience rather than the chance to buy something in a store.

Any gift should be appreciated. There is really no such thing as a thoughtless gift.

Respectfully Yours,


Have a question? Email: jacquelyn@ptd.net. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation.

All Rights Reserved © 2019 Jacquelyn Youst