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The Gift That Keeps on Giving

It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid…

Unless you’re hitting the stores this weekend, ‘cuz ’tis the season to go shopping…


Yeah yeah yeah, I’ve heard it all – peace on earth, spirit of giving, time for family, blah blah blah. Spiritual holiday my ass – it’s all about the shops.

And hey – what’s wrong with that?

I actually don’t do Christmas. Nope, it’s That Other Holiday for me. Eight days of candles, soirees, latkes and, of course, presents. Sure eight days is better than one, but I have Christmas envy all the same. Love the lights/tree/tinsel combo. I can skip a wreath, but a stocking full of treats? Sign me up!

But alas, ’tis not to be. It’s Chanukah or bust chez nous, where the spirit of gifting is out in full force. Nephews, neices, kids and Others: those are the folks on my shopping list. Chanukah’s all about kids and the Others involved with them: teachers, nannies, etc. No husband-wife swapping… Oops! I mean husband-wife GIFT swapping. Not for a lack of trying on my part, but after several years of fighting it, I’ve succumbed, and now Chanukah is just about the kids. OK. Having kids helped.

The big question is, of course, what to buy. And that’s why god created gift cards. I mean really, is there anything better than a gift card? Sure I like to unwrap the big boxes as much as the next gal…Hell, I don’t even mind wrapping them. My mother had a wrapping cupboard – not a Candy Spelling full on room, but a cupboard. And it was awesome. Name your colour, your style, your ribbon – she had it all. I tried to recreate my own giftwrapping cupboard, but it’s turned into a regift space, the only wrapping is old gift bags and stolen tissue paper, ready to be reused.

But back to the gift cards. They’re not for everyone. A young child is still innocent enough to appreciate a toy. And toys for the little ones are still cheap enough to buy. Besides, who doesn’t love roaming the aisles of the toy stores? Sure it’s a pain in the ass in theory, but in practise? Suddenly, everybody’s young and happy and keen and excited. Cutting edge, retro classic, electronic wish listers – toys are fun. And of course they are – they’re toys!!! So for little folks, buying and wrapping is the way to go.

And they they turn 10. And suddenly, it’s all about the cash. No 10+ year old is going to instruct a hapless auntie on where to go and what to buy. They will, however, tell their parents. Or tell you which store they like. Saving up for a bearded gecko? Gift card. An ipod massage chair? Gift card. Jeans too expensive for anyone under 30? Gift card. Yep, for the 10 and over set it’s gift card all the way. And yes, I know cash is king, but it often ends up being spent the wrong way. So stick with the gift cards.

And Others? Sure you could go all out and buy the deluxe bath bombs or coffee mug ‘n milk frother sets. Or not. At my son’s school, the parents are banding together to give the gift of choice – a gift card to a mall. Each parent pays less than they would for an impersonal dud gift, and the teachers get to buy what they want, what they really, really want. Everybody wins!

Gift cards…they’re not just for Christmas! New baby? Gift card is the most considerate way to go. Every new mom I know spends the first few months of their baby’s life returning. Come on, people, you know it’s true. Me, I’ve been practically living on giftcards and credit notes for the past 3 years. Birthdays? Showers? Weddings? Ditto, ditto, ditto.

Don’t get all snippy now, I know how impersonal a gift card can be. But let’s be honest here -everyone thinks they have great taste. And, sadly, most people don’t. So unless the recipient is a little kid, or someone you know very very very well, or someone you want to either re-gift or cheap out on, opt for the gift that never disappoints and deck the halls. With loads of giftcards.

Fa la la la laaaaa, la la ka-ching!


Anonymous said…

Gift cards are not the fix all. I recieved one for my childs birthday. He went to the store, picked out a gift and went to pay. The card registered 0. I quickly paid for the item, I did not want to dissapoint the tyke and then went to the manager to investigate the matter further. The manager said it was empty. Maybe is was faulty suprise!Or de-magnitized by somthing etc etc etc. Do I go back to the parent who gave it??? Talk about akward. I let it go. 25 bucks will not break the bank but I am not convienced that all the gift cards in my purse are so great. I forget I have them half the time until its too late.


Dont be fooled when it comes to our poverty line paid nursery/pre school teachers “Cash is king”. The card is just a pain in the you know what. Maybe they have to pay a power bill or phone bill or credit card bill from over spending at the holiday season. The most appreciated gift is cash in an envelope. We tip waiters in foo foo restaurants more than we give to our teachers at the holiday!!! Be generous they are doing a little more than serving us a foo foo meal! They are taking care of our kids. What can be more important than that?

12:28 PM

Anonymous said…

There is a draw back to the gift card – they know how much you spent! And that can be brutal if you are a great shopper like me and get really awesome stuff cheap. A gift card looks lame unless it gets up there. It’s like the Bar Mitzvah $10 Sam’s gift certificate. It felt cheap. Believe me, a gift card upward of a C-note is divine. $50 – depending on the place (read Indigo). But $25 or less, you feel like – “what, are you too busy to consider me?” I guess it does owrk for the teens, although, as a teen I loved cash and yes, I spent it the wrong way and that’s why teens are teens. Nice to have you back.

8:16 PM

Mother of all Mavens said…

For those whose giftcards have disappeared…sounds a bit suspicious to me. I’ve one instant of that because the person gave me the wrong card (we discussed). As for the cash. yes, we spent it on the wrong things. That was then. This is now. When the parents BEG you not to give the kids cash, what can you do? As for the teathers…some deserve their weight in gold…others – lead. If that. And some think cash is cheesy – not I, of course, but some. Gift card is the answer. Besides, they can always regift it.



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