Nedra Rhone, who is my counterpart at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution with the title of Atlanta Bargain Hunter, is blasting stereotypes today about gift cards and whether they are “a cop-out.”

As Nedra explains, people actually like to give and receive gift cards these days, and one reason is there are so many choices! All you need to do is find out what stores your recipient likes to shop at, or what restaurants they enjoy eating at, and the chances are good you’ll find at least one gift card option.

In fact, the “Dear Santa” letters that circulate in our family for the gift exchange circles include a mix of actual items and gift card ideas in the designated price brackets.

Gift cards I have purchased so far for people this year include:

  • Hobby Lobby.
  • iTunes.
  • Tim Hortons.

There are still a couple of people we are trying to finish up or buy for, and they may get gift cards as well.

What happened to cold hard cash? I do send cash to our godson. He’s a high school senior, but even when he was younger I wasn’t certain which stores were preferred as he lives in another city. Therefore, we invoke the procedure followed by many a “cool uncle and auntie” in years past and give money.

What if you get a gift card you don’t like? There are numerous reseller outlets, in fact, so many that I won’t link to them directly although Nedra lists some of them.

I have other suggestions:

  • Go shopping anyway: Is there anything you might find useful and interesting if not for yourself, then as a gift for someone else as you look ahead to birthdays, weddings or special events?
  • Give it to charity: Look up the wish lists that many non-profit organizations post on their Web sites. Then either give them the gift card or use the gift card as you purchase the requested office supplies, household items, etc.
  • Regift it: Assuming there is no expiration date and you can verify the value of the gift card, regift it.
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