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5 Ways to Personalize the Gift of a Gift Card

Updated on February 28, 2015

Making Gift Cards a Little More Personal

Gift cards can be great ideas when you are shopping for a last minute gift or are stumped for a good present. The problem with gift cards is they usually lack that personal, thoughtful touch that a picked-out-by-hand gift normally has. This isn't an issue if your giftee is little more than an acquaintance, but does tend to be a problem when it's a relative, good friend, or someone else close to you.

Never fear! There are ways to make those gift cards a little less impersonal. Here are five suggestions to help turn the generic into the thoughtful.

1. Be Specific

While no one is going to begrudge a generic gift card, if you want to show that you put some thought into your gift, get a gift card to a specific place. Just make sure it's a place your giftee actually likes.

When trying to choose the right gift card, ask yourself some questions. Does he get coffee at a particular shop every morning? Does she have lunch at the same restaurant most afternoons? If so, those are definitely gift card possibilities. Even if you don't know your giftee's favorite restaurant, if you know a type of food he or she likes, you are still on the right track.

Also ask yourself what are their hobbies? Does she love to read or adore movies? Maybe a gift card to Barnes and Noble or a local movie theater would be best. Is he crazy about electronics or video games? Best Buy or Gamestop are good choices then.

Once you have an answer to one or more of these questions, you'll be able to decide on a gift card that shows the giftee that you were paying attention to what he or she likes. By showing you know their preferences, you show you care.

If your giftee likes to eat out...

Think of getting them a gift card to their favorite place to eat.

2. Package It

Nothing says "I really couldn't be bothered" more than an unsigned card or an unwrapped gift. It is no different for gift cards. Put the card in a nice box and wrap it or place it in a small gift bag and cover it with colorful tissue paper. Show the person to whom you are giving the gift you care about the presentation.

There are plenty of specially made gift card boxes or envelopes which you can buy that would work wonderfully for this purpose. That isn't the only option, however. Any gift bag or box can be used for a gift card as long as the card doesn't just seem "thrown in."

Want to surprise someone? Wrap a huge box with a gift card tucked neatly in the center and make them dig it out. Even better, wrap it in an old box that is labeled with something you know they don't want. As long as the gift card is for something they do, you are golden.

This works particularly well if the box you use is for something similar to the gift card. For example, if your giftee adores video games, you might package his or her Gamestop gift card in a box for a game they already have or definitely don't want. This also works wonderfully if you have actually bought them a video game that they do want.

Whatever you do, do not just shove the gift card into a greeting card. If you prefer to present the gift card inside a greeting card then make sure to use one that is specially designed to hold it.

3. Include a small, specially picked out gift

The biggest reason gift cards are so impersonal is because they don't tell the giftee that the gift giver put thought into the gift. A gift card leaves the true gift up to the person who receives the card. This can often times be beneficial, allowing him or her to chose something they actually want and go shopping without spending their own money. But how do you, as the gift giver, balance the wish to let your giftees chose their own gifts, with the desire to give them something personal? You give them a small gift as well.

Leaving out another gift will not necessarily make your gift card less personal, but if you have the time and a little extra money, this is a great way to add a personalized touch to the gift card. It may even replace the packaging, depending on what you choose.

Including the gift card with some flowers, candy, or a small stuffed animal will bring an extra smile to a woman's, or even a man's, face. You can also try including something specific to the card: a travel mug if the card is for Starbucks, bath soaps if it's for Bed, Bath, and Beyond, a bookmark for Barnes and Noble. The extra gift doesn't need to be expensive (though it can be), the important part is it is a personalized trinket that says "I put thought into this gift."

For Example...

If your giftee is always displaying photographs, you might stick a gift card or two in a charming photo holder Christmas tree.

4. Write a Message

Nothing says personalized quite like a handwritten message. Whether you package your gift card in a greeting card, box, bag, or tuck it into the ribbon on a candy box, you should include a message to the giftee.

The message does not need to be long or profound, though it can be. Just a few words or sentences are all that is necessary. Your giftee only wants to know that you were actually thinking of him or her when you picked out and packaged the gift.

Although sending a very specialized present without a note may be romantic or mysterious, a gift card, even a specific one, lacks the hand-picked gift personalization and so should always be accompanied by a short (or long) message to tell the person you care.

You should also make sure that the gift card amount is either displayed somewhere on the card or that you include it in your note. Don't make your giftee look up the card amount his or herself. You should also ensure the card has the amount it says on it.

Note cards can add elegance

Although note cards are not necessary to personalize a gift card, they can add elegance or charm to the presentation.

5. Hand Deliver It

Although it is not always possible to hand deliver gifts, presenting the gift to the giftee personally always helps to add a thoughtful touch. If hand delivery is impossible, be sure do something else to show you still put thought into the gift. Writing a message or enclosing a personally made card are both good options.

Better yet, include a greeting card that allows you to record your own message. That way you can say what you would have had you been able to present the gift personally, and the giftee gets to hear the message coming straight from your lips.

What you should not do, if you are hoping to personalize your gift, is purchase the gift card online and send it directly to the recipient, without box, bows, or message. If you do purchase your gift online, make sure you have it wrapped and include a message, or better yet send it to yourself rather than the person you are buying for, so you can include little personalized elements before the gift's recipient receives his or her gift. Yes, it's a little more work, but aren't they worth it?

What's Your Experience?

Nearly everyone has given or received a gift card in their lives. In some circles, they are the thing to give. In others, it's in poor taste. What's your experience?

When you do give gift cards?

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      karen-ball 5 years ago

      Great article by the way