Christmas is a joyous time of year. Happiness, holly, ho-ho-hoing, and some other H-word. Most say it is better to give than to receive. But, let's all face it - it feels pretty good to receive too. Ripping open presents at a family Christmas party is a great feeling - it makes you feel like a kid again. Then you get that one uncle - you know him well, the one who got you those savings bonds when you were six - who instead of a box wrapped in colorful Christmas joy, he hands you a small little envelope. When you open it up, you see that inevitable 5-dollar Starbucks gift card that probably expired around a few days ago, meaning he probably got it for his birthday that past year and didn't use it and decided to pull off the infamous re-gift technique.
People seem to think that giving people a small piece of plastic for a store the person may or may not like obliterates their gift obligation. In a way, it does, but two things need to happen: it needs to be a place you actually like, and it has to be a pretty good amount (this varies from store to store. If it's for McDonald's, 5 to 10 dollars is fine. It's for Best Buy, anything less than 20 is probably only gonna get you a pack of gum.).
Another thing wrong with it is... what do you say besides "thank you"? "This is just what I wanted"? What, have you lost your dignity? All you wanted for the most well-known and loved holiday in history... is a freaking piece of plastic? I mean, the same could be said about a lot of things people take in value, but still. It's all very awkward. And you sure as hell can't say, "Oh, cool, now I can buy that thing I wanted from that store", because then you run the risk of making the other person feel like an a-hole because they could've easily gotten you what you really wanted for the same price, if not less.
A big problem if they just get you a gift card to a place you don't even like, or haven't been to. Or if it's a place that doesn't have anything you're interested in. Don't get a beer-glugging hillbilly a gift card to Bed Bath and Beyond. It's like giving cheese to a pig and mud to a mouse - it just doesn't work.
But, now, what if this person actually did do their research? What if they did get you a good gift card with a good amount of money to a store you go to frequently or like or maybe even one you haven't heard of that has things you like? Then you need to go to that person and give them a hearty Merry Christmas and a nice friendly hug. Or if either you or they are claustrophobic or just think it'd be awkward, just wait a week or two for your annual thank you card sendings.
I guess when it's all said and done gift cards aren't that bad no matter what, but come on - you need something to gripe about this time of year.
No real bitterness or hatefulness towards gift cards or those who like them/buy them frequently. It's all in the name of humor, folks.
Merry Christmas, everybody. :)