The PERFECT Gift For the Last Minute Shopper!…

Wrapped Christmas presents under the tree at The Vyne, Hampshire.

Being accused of nailing family and friends with perfect gifts for Christmas (and other occasions), this queen of the clearance racks has a thing for giving gift cards, and gift certificates.  They are no, not the flashiest thing to give the person who seems not to need new jewelry or gadgets let alone bad Christmas sweaters, but they are useful anytime of the year…and guarantee the recipient will get EXACTLY what they want and many times what they need for Christmas.

worst-christmas-gifts-2With that in mind, opening up Business Insider’s list of optimal gift cards in “This is the ultimate last-minute gift idea for procrastinators” revealed a list of eighteen national companies offering digital gift cards.  To be honest, this writer has used and has received several of these companies’ gift cards for Christmas presents over the years, but never received any other benefit.  Business Insider, on the other hand, included this disclaimer at the end of the list:

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Business Insider’s Insider Picks team. We aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting, and if you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners, including Amazon. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Have something you think we should know about? Email us at insiderpicks@businessinsider.com.

Sure you do.

C8Y71F A selection of gift cards in a store in New York on Wednesday, November 2, 2011. (© Richard B. Levine)

A selection of gift cards in a store in New York on Wednesday, November 2, 2011. (© Richard B. Levine)

Given the amount of sheer cheap STUFF we in America have, rather than giving more of it even if the list above includes Etsy, LL Bean and REI (all places to find quality items), unless it is really needed or fits a person’s personality, here are some all around suggestions for gift cards that can be used any time and in a pinch that really are appreciated especially by strapped families and starving artists:

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Massage Envy or any other personal service at a favorite salon – Let’s face it, personal services are expensive.  Hair appointments, mani-pedi appointments, massage…reflexology….  This might seem like a frivilous gift, but so is a full length mink unless one lives in a big city with a wind and snow problem.

Pre-Paid Visa, Mastercard or other cash – One place this writer worked, management gave the employees a choice: big party or gift cards for Christmas.  The staff chose gift cards.  All of us saved them for emergency purposes.

Grocery Stores – Yet another former employer used to give us $100 to a local grocery chain at the holidays.  It was greatly appreciated.  Obviously, the amount wouldn’t need to be $100, but with the price of meat and eggs these days, we can all use all the help we can get.

One Month Cell Phone Service – This one speaks for itself, plus this is available for most mobile providers via the kiosks at Walmart (along with a whole lot of other gift card offerings including national chain restaurants.)

Department or Big Box Stores That Compete With Amazon – At some point in the year, most people will need new socks and underwear in addition to any number of other things.  It’s always more tasteful if they can choose the items for themselves.  (No this does not count buying for a spouse.)

So, there you have it.  Cultural Limits’ preferences in gift card giving.  Sure, it’s nice to get gift cards for the fancy next_iconstuff, but sometimes the basics mean far more.

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