Don’t like it…yet I am gifting with a Gift Card

(Written by an Indian who is back in India after many years living abroad in the US) I am the kind of a gal who likes to gift something nice, which will make the person remember me by. I think that I have great taste or let us settle for good taste. I take pains to find something nice and that obviously means a lot of shopping and running around. I’ll admit that I do like the (window) shopping part of it. It is also a nice opportunity to pickup something for oneself in the process! So, I never really liked the idea of a Gift Card when it surfaced a while ago; those days we dwelled in the USA. We returned to India a few years back and again I was buying toys mostly for the tots on their Birthdays and watches/dinner sets for the Weddings. That kind of became a norm. As my first son grew older, I had to start attending the Upanayanas (thread ceremony). There started all my troubles. I couldn’t buy the traditional gifts (typically silver/gold – not to mention the recent upsurge of the yellow metal) because the pre-teens won’t like them. If I go with the toys/video games, the older generation will give me looks. My husband suggested that I was better off buying a gift card because the kid or the ‘young man’ can choose whatever he likes. So Landmark became the de facto gift card for all the teens. It still is because it has books, games and toys. It may change from Landmark to something as other youth brands like Fastrack have gift cards now. These days my lazy husband also asks me to buy gift cards whenever he has to travel for weddings ‘cause he doesn’t have to lug it around. The other hidden fear factor that I have with these conventional gifts is duplication, especially in weddings. You don’t want your gift to bring out a sighL Recently, I got a bunch of gift vouchers (denomination 500) from the credit card company because of the hefty points that we had accumulated. I was thinking it would have been so much easier if they had given me a Gift Card. I could have carried it in my purse all the time. I didn’t have to worry about the price tags to make sure that the total was a multiple of 500! That was the very first time that I wished for a gift card J Anyway, these days I have compromised and I console myself that the gift card comes with some advantages. It is ok to give them when you don’t know the person well, if you don’t have the time or if you are just lazy. When you are at the receiving end, gift card is any day better than a lousy gift. Don’t get me wrong – the gifter may have the heart in the right place, but the taste may be really lousy. I always have this nagging thought when I buy the gift card – Will they (giftee) remember that they bought that particular item with the gift card I gave? May be or may be not. I am growing up and am slowly realizing that the joy is in giving! –  Mamatha Rao