Gift cards are spectacular. We want them; it’s so easy to give them. Yet the gift giving experience here falls as flat as that gift card when you are trying to pick it up off a kitchen countertop. It could be exactly what they want, or even asked for specifically, but giving a gift card can come with the message of “I put almost no thought into this and very little effort, but I totally love and/or care about you.”
So we want to keep giving gift cards, but add another layer to make it a more exciting, oxytocin inducing experience. At least, if this is a relationship that you want to nurture and solidify.
There are any number of ways we can improve giving a gift cards with varying levels of cost and effort. Here are a five strategies to approach it.
Is there something about this gift card that makes it particular and niche, or is there any association you can make with it to something else? Especially if that something else can be a gift in and of itself. Here are some examples:
- Is it a more generic gift card, like Target? Can you pair it with a small game of darts? Bonus points for one with a red and white bullseye!
- Do they enjoy games or challenges? Sneak some cash inside one of these tube jigsaw puzzles and have them work for that money.
- If you are feeling like a generous yet devious benefactor, add cash into a mini take on an arcade classic claw machine or this pinball one.
Depending on whom the gift is for, add a bit of personalization to show that you thought about them.
- Is this gift from your family or do you have small children? Get a generic paper lunch bag or small gift bag. Have every family member (or just the kids) write and draw messages and pictures related to the giftee.
- Do they have a favorite candy or snack food? How can you incorporate the gift card or cash into that? Try hiding a gift card in a jar of candy or adding different amounts of cash to the different spots in a box of chocolates.
- If the gift cards is for a beauty or makeup store, like Sephora or Ulta, you could wrap it in a monogram make up bag and add some commonly used items, like a few makeup sponges or a reusable cotton swab.
Even if you don’t have the time or energy to come up with something specifically hilarious for this particular gift, I’ve gathered these for your inspiration:
- Wrap the gift card in the shape of something boring/inappropriate/huge/etc. Insert whatever adjective is most geared toward the audience, including a broom, something sexual, a single shoe, a teddy bear…
- Put the gift card in a box that is not at all relevant. Amazon has a wide collection of prank boxes, like this cheese printer.
Any easy way to nicely ‘wrap’ a gift card is to put it inside a card wallet or business card holder. Pick one out that fits their personality and throw on a tiny bow. Now you’ve given them another reusable gift and shown that you’ve thought about what they like.
Here are a few options as low as $7:
If you don’t mind a little craft or mini project, or perhaps have some leftover materials from a time you felt more photo album motivated, putting together a custom card or gift card holder can change your gift-giving-game.
I made this taco themed card in about 20 minutes with only materials I already had. Complete with a gift card to a local taco place, this thank you gift went from great to something great they want to taco-bout.
For an easy printable version, checkout this article from The Craft Patch.
This post from Defeating Busy shows some other crafty ways to increase the equity on your gift card gift.
These (mostly) very simple enhancements will make your valuable, but lifeless gift card, one that will gain you some more mental real estate.