How to Give a Gift Card

February 28, 2014    |    By +
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Gift cards are still one of the top gifted, and requested, items. Yet as handy and desirable as they are, gift cards can also present challenges. Many cards go unused, to the tune of $1 billion a year, according to The Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch. Gift cards can also seem a little impersonal. So, we’ve come up with some suggestion that can help you choose the right card, making it more likely to be used, as well as some fun and creative ways to package the gift card.

Pair It

Bundle your gift card with corresponding physical gifts. Let’s say you’re shopping for your 15-year-old nephew, for example. You might get him an iTunes gift certificate wrapped with a pair of headphones or a vintage record. Or you could give a teen girl a gift card for a manicure and pair with a set of beautiful nail polish.



Let Them Buy Anything They Want, Anywhere

A preloaded Visa or Mastercard is a great gift to give someone who is about to travel. It’s the perfect graduation gift, for example.


Pack It Up

This tip can be used for any type of card you giftee might enjoy: Package your gift certificate in a leather pouch, wallet or business card holder. Go monogrammed if you can. This RedEnvelope credit card holder ($45.95) is handmade in Boston by one artisan, meaning each one is unique.



Give an Experience 

Companies like Cloud9Living let you gift a certificate for a desired amount and then let the giftee pick what activity they’d like to enjoy in their city. They can choose from 1,700 experiences, like flying a fighter jet or taking a golf lesson from a PGA champion. The certificates start at $50 and can then be in any denomination from there.



Blow it Up

Giving a gift card to a child? Make them work for it and hide it in a balloon.  Before you blow it up, insert your gift card, add some fun confetti and then require the recipient to pop it before they can get their gift.

Go as Personal as You Can

If you really know the person well, pick a gift card for a place you know they love. Their favorite brunch spot, their dream spa or their go-to clothing store. For a steak lover, pick a steak house like Morton’s. You can go even truly custom with a gift certificate for a custom-drawn charicature, or add a photo to the card to make it feel special.


Check out all of our gift cards at, where we have gift cards for every person on your list, from a movie lover to a traveler, and everyone in between.

Lindsay Roberts is a nationally known gift expert and founder of She is regularly interviewed on gifting segments for network affiliates across the country. She has been featured on sites like E! Online and, and has been hired as a spokesperson and social media gift expert for national brands.



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Meet the Gurus

Kathryn D.W.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

Gwen P.
Gwen is the Editorial Curator at In addition to writing blogs, she creates gift guides, curates the site, and produces content for our social media channels. As a freelance writer, she created blogs on fashion, art, travel, health and lifestyle. A talented jewelry designer, she's also a yogi and a hospital volunteer with her therapy dog, Lilo, a Pomeranian.