Gift Cards for Christmas?

Sunday, December 16, 2007
The Holiday season is upon us and one discussion I have had with people is if it is appropriate to give people gift cards for Christmas. The argument goes is that it would be equivalent to giving someone cash, and this is generally frowned upon.

I used to be of the belief that it was not appropriate to give gift cards or cash as a gift. I've always believed that it was the thought in the gift that counted the most, and it didn't take much thought to buy someone a gift card from Best Buy or Target. However, I've recently done a complete U-turn on this subject. The reason is because I've been enjoying the benefit of this my entire life and never complained about it then.

You see, I'm Chinese. And in Chinese culture, it is completely appropriate to give cash as a gift. In fact, it is the norm. I used to love getting those little red envelopes filled with money for my birthday or for Chinese New Year. The funny thing was, for some reason, I never put the two together. I thought it was fine for Chinese people to give me money as a gift but always believed that I should not do the same. Maybe it's because I don't really consider myself Chinese.

Either way, I've changed my mind on the subject. Partially due to this epiphany, partially due to the fact that the older I get, the more I appreciate how hard it is to buy someone like me a gift. I would rather not have people stress otu to try and buy me a gift, so if it easier to give me a gift card, so be it.