When you don’t know what to give someone this Christmas, even after rummaging through shelves, racks, and bins (or when you simply don’t have the luxury of time or are plain lazy), a gift certificate (GC) would have to do the trick.
Apart from being widely available and easy to purchase, a GC makes sure that the recipient ends up getting a present he or she really likes and can use. Here are a few reminders when it comes to giving away GCs this Christmas.
•Check the expiration date
Most GCs expire a year after purchase, so make sure you buy them as close to Christmas as possible so the recipient still has almost a year to use it.
•Consider the recipient’s interests
Although a GC gives someone the freedom to choose anything from a particular store, the person is still restricted to just that store. So make sure you get a GC from a store that the recipient frequents or a store that carries stuff they’re interested in. Someone who is not outgoing and athletic would surely not be too excited about a GC from a sports store.
•Consider the branches
Usually printed on the GC is a list of the branches where it can be used. Go for an establishment with several branches around the metro or at least branches that are near the recipient’s house or office. Your friend might end up not using the GC or just giving it away if they can only avail of it in one or two remote branches.
Plastic or cardboard
•Protect and present well
Go for sturdy plastic gift cards or paper GCs in cardboard envelopes, or at least make sure you enclose the GCs in a protective case if the store doesn’t provide envelopes. One thing’s a must: the GC needs to look new and just-purchased, and not old and recycled—even if they are old and recycled.
Choose the denomination wisely
If you’re getting a GC from a high-end store where almost everything is expensive, it’s best to choose a GC in the biggest denomination, since the recipient will most probably end up using it as just a discount. For stores that have a lot of affordable items or a variety of offerings, go for GCs in smaller denominations so the recipient isn’t forced to use up just one GC with a big amount in one visit. Do the same with GCs for fast-food chains so the recipient can go back several times.
Search for good deals
Search for establishments that offer a discount when you buy GCs in bulk. A lot of big companies also sell their GCs at a discounted price to employees, so go check with your friends if they work in one. Some press and media companies also have barter deals and the like, so your friends from the media and the press most probably have access to GCs (and other items) available for a lower price.
Some stores don’t accept GCs during three-day sales or when you want to purchase something from the discounted item bins. Spare your friends the hassle and frustration by choosing stores that do not have these restrictions and just accept good-as-money GCs.