I am not particularly fond of gift giving. Okay, so maybe that is not entirely true. I just think that people are way too hung up on the whole thing. Holiday after holiday, celebration after celebration, gifts have become an expectation instead of a pleasant surprise. Some people spend way too much time and money, driving themselves crazy and putting themselves in debt as they try to find the absolute perfect gift for everyone on their list. Others hardly put any time, energy or thought into it at all, plucking random items from the sales racks and, not even really caring whether the recipients are going to like what they’ve chosen or not.

If you ask me, giving someone a gift should be an enjoyable exchange for everyone involved. The giver shouldn’t feel like they have to go overboard, and should be confident in their choice. And the recipient should feel pleasantly surprised and flattered by both the gesture and the gift itself. That is why one of my favorite gifts is a gift card.

Now, some people tend to think that a gift card is a totally cheap, cop out gift, but I beg to differ. A well-chosen gift card is actually the perfect for absolutely anyone. It shows that you know the recipient well enough to pick out a gift card to one of their favorite stores, and it gives them the freedom to pick out the exact item that they have been pining for. Gift cards totally save the awkwardness of accidentally choosing the wrong size or picking out a gift that the recipient already owns.

The best thing about gift cards is that these days you can purchase a gift card or a gift certificate for just about anything–from clothing boutiques and bookstores to restaurants and online services like XBox Live or ITunes. I’ve received gift cards to Borders, Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, Harkins Movie Theaters, Old Navy, Bed Bath and Beyond, WalMart, Target, Dolce Salon and Spa, Starbucks, Macy’s, Regal Theaters, Amazon, Lord & Taylor, Babies R Us, Toys R Us, and a dozen other shops and restaurants and let me tell you, they have all been put to good use. No regifting or exchanging necessary.

Tonight, it was like Christmas all over again when I discovered an old unused Lord & Taylor gift card given to me by my friend Katie when I lived in NY. Unfortunately, I moved to Arizona before I had a chance to use it, so I tucked it away in my wallet for later. I think tomorrow is looking like a good day to do a little online shopping. Thanks Katie!

Today’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to the perfect anytime gift. Never underestimate the power of the gift card.

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