PICK A SIDE: Do gift cards make good presents?

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Published December 4, 2020 at 6:36 pm

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With restrictions in many parts of Ontario, and the Province advising people to do their best to avoid gatherings, this holiday season will be undoubtedly different than years past.

However, many Canadians still hope to celebrate in some capacity, many have warmed to the idea of a virtual celebration—replete with gifts that will be shipped or mailed this year.

Considering how different this year will be, many people are even considering turning to one of the more contentious gift ideas—gift cards.

For some, gift cards are a blessing, they allow shoppers to get a gift for a loved one—often one who is difficult to shop for—without the risk of getting them something they won’t like or use.

However, others feel gift cards are impersonal—some feel a gift card sends the message that someone couldn’t be bothered to actually get a gift, so they got a gift card instead.

Those in favour of gift cards feel they provide the sentiment of a gift, while also giving the person the option to choose the item they would like best.

Detractors of gift cards don’t believe they make the process more convenient for the one receiving the gift—considering most stores include gift receipts, those who receive a gift they can’t use can return it and get something they like better. A gift card just cuts out the middle part, but both involve a shopping trip.

This year, however, gift cards can represent a life line for struggling businesses, many restaurants and small businesses are relying on people purchasing gift cards for when their businesses reopen in order to help them avoid having to close permanently.

Additionally, due to the fact many people plan on shipping gifts to loved ones this year, gift cards represent an easier option—those who purchase an actual gift and have it shipped risk having it damaged in the process, gift cards don’t present this same risk.

Nevertheless, those who want the recipient of their gift to enjoy it right away may be hesitant to purchase a gift card, particularly if they have to ship it to a friend or family member living in an area with a high number of COVID-19 cases, as it could pose a risk to them when they attempt to use it.

Although, many businesses are attempting to offer alternative shopping methods, including curbside pickup and online order, to mitigate such risks, and many gift cards may be used during online purchases.

So, readers, what do you think?

Do gift cards make good presents?

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