Gift cards are a great way to show someone that you care about them! Whether it’s for a birthday or an achievement, a gift card can go a long way to making a child feel special. Even if you have already purchased a surprise piece of jewelry for your little angel, gift cards can really sweeten the deal by turning a one-off present into a combo package. Additionally, gift cards can almost always be returned if they haven’t been used, so they are a safe gifting option.

Gift cards are sometimes disregarded as “lazy” purchases, but this is not so! Even in isolation, they are an excellent way to show someone that you are dialed into their likes and dislikes, without having to commit to a specific item. This is also a wonderful opportunity to explain the importance of having a smart consumer mindset to your children. Combine this experience with the main present, and your child will be guaranteed to have a memorable day

When buying gift cards, it is important to keep in mind the interests of the person you are buying them for. Try to think about the different activities, events, clothing or gadgets that your child has expressed interest in. In the time leading up to a child’s birthday, keep your eyes and ears open to pick up on subtle, or not so subtle, hints about what they would like. More often than not, children will be quite overt with their desires, and you can use this to everyone’s benefit.

For example, if in the months preceding Anna’s birthday, her mother notices she shows a real interest in track and field, it might be a good idea to give Anna a gift card to a sports store. Anna would be able to get comfortable, stylish athletic wear and proper shoes for running. Just what she needs to live a healthy, happy lifestyle! As mentioned earlier, Anna also learns some important lessons about smart buying behavior that will pay dividends throughout her life. And, best of all, it seems like you “knew it all along” (because you did)!

If you happen to be caught by surprise and need a present fast, gift cards are yet again a great option. If you have even the slightest idea what the person you’re purchasing for likes, you can choose a gift card that is sure to please them. Select their favorite store, pick an amount, and you are in the clear! 

One final thing to keep in mind is that some gift cards cost an additional fee to be activated for use. Activation fees can drive the cost of your gift higher than expected, so pay attention to the fine print on the back of each card.