Gift cards have a reputation of being a bit of an unoriginal gift. Generally they’re associated with the giver not taking time to really consider what the receiver would want, or that they waited too long to get a gift so they’re just going to the “Gift Card Mall” at the grocery store. And I get it. If someone asked you what you want, and you took the time and effort to make a concise list keeping a budget in mind, and they still just got you a generic gift card, you wonder what the point was in putting all the time and effort into it. And you don’t want to seem ungrateful, because they didn’t have to get you anything at all!
But sometimes a gift card is the better option. Maybe they don’t know your size but know your favorite store. Maybe they know you’re an avid coffee or tea drinker and want to give you the gift of a hot beverage every morning for a week but, you know, they’re not actually in the car with you during your morning commute. Or maybe they know you’ve been planning a bedroom makeover and they want to help out with that. Gift cards can be personal and helpful and filled with love, especially when the giver has really put your interests into the buying.
Here are some gift cards I would personally love to receive, and maybe they’ll give you an idea of somewhere you’d like, too. Or at least give you an idea for a gift for someone else.
There are always at least 15 things from Torrid on my wishlist at any given time. I love the way their clothes fit me and I love their styles. Their jeggings are probably my favorite pants to wear and they do such a good job of keeping up with the latest trends and making sure they fit the diverse shapes of plus size women. Plus, they’re super inclusive.
Honestly, that could go for just about any coffee shop because I’m an avid coffee fan, but I say Starbucks because I love it and it’s super convenient. Plus, Starbucks is known to have some seriously cute gift cards during the holidays and if you register your gift card, you can start earning points for rewards like free drinks and special offers! And no, this isn’t a sponsored post, I just really love the Starbucks Reward program. Especially now that you actually get credited for the price of your drink instead of just one star per transaction regardless of how much you spent.
Speaking of places with adorable gift cards, Target probably wins that contest. They get so creative with it that sometimes the card is a keeper even after all the money is spent just because you can play with it. I have a stereotypical, ongoing love affair with Target. I frequent it less in the summer months because I’ve no need for outdoor furniture, garden tools, or swimming accessories, but during the holidays it’s even more magical than normal. They’re doing a massive update of all their stores within the next few years, so I’m pumped to see all the new products and brands to come!
I got Amazon Prime a few months ago (probably close to eight, now) and I love it so much. I’ve even gotten to a point where I compare in-store prices of things to Amazon prices to see if it’s really worth buying at the store. That, I know, is contributing to the decline in brick-and-mortar stores and the rise in online retail, but sometimes I just don’t care. I love that I can buy almost anything from Amazon and have it shipped free to my apartment quickly (sometimes same-day depending when I place my order, and if they have it in stock at the nearby fulfillment center). I also have an Amazon Kindle account and I use the app on my tablet all the time, so getting e-books is another bonus.
I am an avid crafter and am always trying out new things. My love for Michaels hasn’t dwindled despite having worked there for a few years sometime ago. I can always find something I don’t need for a craft I’m doing and their seasonal section is always on point. Plus, with their coupons, a gift card can go a long way.
Half Price Books
If you don’t have a HPB in your area, I’m really sorry for you. It’s one of my favorite stores to browse through. I almost always find at least one book or movie to buy, and they have the cutest gift and trinkets section. I found a Nikola Tesla puppet at one once. I also found a Jane Austen action figure one time, too. It’s not just used books; they have plenty of brand new selections, too. And because everything is so cheap, you can get way more at HPB for the same amount as at another bookstore. But, I mean, I would be ecstatic about a Barnes and Noble gift card, too.
I always have DIY decorating projects going and am constantly trying to figure out how to decorate our apartment. I love buying stuff from IKEA because it works and it’s pretty straightforward. Plus, it’s inexpensive. I’ve got such a lengthy shopping list going that a gift card for here would probably knock out a good chunk of. But even if I didn’t have redecorating/organizing to do, there’s always something new and fun at IKEA. Plus, you can use the card in their grocery section – hello swedish meatballs and lingonberry jam!
Okay, this is a store I haven’t known about for super long, probably just a year or so, but I always go in finding some kind of fandom merch that I absolutely MUST have. They have almost everything from anime to Disney to Harry Potter to Friends and almost everything in between. I’m not a huge anime person, but thanks to Shane’s insistence, there are a few that I’ve been keeping up with, so it’s super exciting when I see a character with which I’m familiar on a shirt or throw blanket. Plus, as you know, your girl is a massive Potterhead, and their collection of Potter merch is impressive. It’s a great place to buy gifts for other people, too, though. There’s is, quite literally, something for everyone.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
If you aren’t familiar with this chain of movie theaters, there’s a good chance it’s probably because you don’t have one near you. There are only 30 locations currently open around the country, with eight more marked as “Coming Soon” on their website. SHane and I found the one closest to us from a recommendation from one of my best friends. She and her husband love the Drafthouse go as often as they can. It’s the same idea as Studio Movie Grill or other cinemas where you eat and watch the movie at the same time, but the food is just out of this world, and the service is even better. They have a strict “no distractions” policy (you’ve probably seen their video go viral a few years back) and the waiters do a great job of keeping a low profile while the movie is playing. They also have themed menus based on the movies being released that month. To top it all off, they do fun throwback screenings of older movies, quote-a-longs, sing-a-longs, and dance parties.
Here’s the deal; I don’t shop at HomeGoods often, because if I did, I’d never have money. HomeGoods seems to be this magical land where all the best home decor lives at a stupidly discounted price and I can guarantee that I’ll always find something in my style there. It can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing, and frustrating if you go in looking for a very specific item, but if you keep an open mind and just let yourself browse, it’s like a wonderland.
How do you feel about gift cards? Would you rather receive a gift card or an actual gift? Where are your favorite places to shop? Leave me a comment and let me know so I can try it out.