Monday, January 3, 2011

Thoughts on Gifting

I am a huge fan of Miss Manners, it's been said before and I am sure to repeat it again in the future.  But her stance on gift cards is that they are a lazy gift with no thought.  And for the most part I would partially agree.  I understand why they're given, but I'd always prefer a book you thought I would enjoy to a gift card to a bookstore.  However, when it is less wide-open, more specific and thought out, I think they're fine and dandy.

For instance for Christmas G and I received gift cards to both Starbucks and Panera from members of my family.  These were thoughtful gifts because coffee dates are something we enjoy but something we are cutting back on to put more money into savings.  Since Christmas we've had 3 little coffee dates that cost us nothing, and we enjoyed the time out while running errands.  We've been to Starbucks late at night and enjoyed mochas while discussing the changes over this next year.  We've sat at Panera and enjoyed coffee and a free piece of cinnamon coffee cake (because I coupled the MyPanera rewards card with our gift card.....first reward is a free pastry....we have another one on G's card now!).  And yesterday before heading to the grocery store we stopped in for a couple hours at starbucks and had coffee while it was grey outside, a cozy mini date.  

So the gift cards are a blessing to us as a couple.  I'm not sure I've mentioned this before but I'm fairly cheap on some things.  Such as how overpriced I feel Starbucks G and I usually share a coffee.  Yes, even while sitting down.  Weird looks aside it's cheaper to buy a larger cup and share than buy two small sized ones.  But with the gift cards I've simply been saying "whatever."  And in the process I'm earning rewards points with Starbucks as well, and now am at the second tier where I can get free flavor additions.  So suddenly that plain coffee can be bought cheap and dressed up like something fancier!  

I don't advocate gift cards to big stores.  I feel that it's less personal, and the whole point in giving gifts is to say, "You mean something to me and I thought of you."  If we're simply going around exchanging "money" then what's the point?  But if you know it's a restaurant the person would love but never spend the money on, go ahead and gift that experience to them.  Keep it thoughtful. 

*I have not been paid to speak about the Starbucks rewards or MyPanera, I've just found them both useful.  However, the MyPanera is a free rewards program and I just discovered this morning I've already earned another reward of an espresso drink (like my chai latte) or a smoothie.  Um, yes to the free items!  


  1. oh, I didn't know either of those places had rewards!


  2. I keep meaning to go to our local Panera. I hear that they make a FANTASTIC chai latte. I also love their cinnamon bagels. Yummy! WIsh I could meet you for breakfast.

  3. One of my friends and bloggers I read, her husband got her one of those frames with multiple places for pictures. He filled it with photos of the family for her new work office, but over each hole also put a gift card with a message. Like an iTunes card and a message about how she must be sick of running to Michael Jackson each morning. It made each gift card so sweet and sentimental, yet let the recipient make her own decisions. I thought it was brilliant.

    We paid off a credit card and had a random amount of rewards left on it and got $50 worth of Starbucks gift cards to have to give as gifts. Can't get enough Starbucks OR Panera (they just opened one a couple blocks from my office!).

  4. I'm a fan of the gift card when they are given with thought. Like this Xmas, since my mother is moving back to the States from Dublin, I didn't want to give her anything that she would have to pack, and I wanted to give her something that she can use while she is there... voila... Amazon gift card. Perfect!
    Happy New Years! :-)