How To Make An Impersonal Gift Like A Gift Card, Personal.
If you just give a gift card, you might look like you didn't give it any thought...
Gift cards are great. My brother-in-law just gave us a Toys R Us gift card for our newborn son Klaus. Though we'd love to buy him toys with it, I was laid off recently so money's tight and we used the card to buy much needed clothes instead. The beauty of that, is that we were able to fill a need instead of a want.
Therein lies the genius of the gift card, if done right. The same style card, same from Sotheby's or Jareds might not have done as much for our family, although my wife may beg to differ! A gift card from Target, Walmart, Ace Hardware, Bed Bath and Beyond... these sorts of places would have been great gift cards for a family like us. In our case, buying a gift card is pretty easy. In our case, making it personal is as easy as thinking, just for a moment, what do these folks need?
There's a world of gift cards to give: iTunes gift cards, Scrip gift cards, Amazon gift cards, Patagonia gift cards, Bass Pro shop gift cards, The Home Depot gift cards, Maurice's gift cards, you name it.
Gifts for individuals
Here's where it gets a little tougher. A gift card for an adult, especially the kind who has everything, can be a bit more daunting. Nowadays most gift cards can be bought online, so if you don't life near Michigan Avenue in Chicago and you can't walk to the Sharper Image store or the Apple store or Tiffany's, you can just go online and order one of these cards.
So you have the gift card in hand, now what?
Well, you could just buy a bow and stick it on there and you're done. You might look like a thoughtless jerk doing it this way. On the other hand, if it's a man-to-man gift, say for an old buddy or something, this might be enough. If it's for your wife, mom or girlfriend though, you've got a little more work to do.
One way to personalize a gift is to fool the person into thinking you bought them something that doesn't cost anything.
You could, for example, write a basic poem. Then put the poem in a card or some other paper stock, and hide the gift card on the back with tape. Anyone can write a few personal words, give it a try. Or you can go with the old standby and purchase a greeting card and tape the gift card to the back. If you want to be especially clever you can cut out a piece of paper the size of the card and sandwich it between the back and the card.
Another way to personalize a gift card is to give it as another gift, usually a smaller, less expensive one. Hiding it on the other gift can be fun again, but you don't necessarily have to do it that way. So for example, you could buy a potted plant, something that will throw them off like an aloe vera plant or a fern or something, then put the card in between the stems.
You could also go the opposite route and buy a very expensive gift, say a Rolex watch, then put a goofy gift card on top of the box, in an obvious spot, say a Kmart gift card or a Graffiti store card or something, that hides the big ticket gift. That would be good for a laugh.
In conclusion, just remember to go the extra mile with a gift card. Receiving a gift card is great, but with just a little bit more thought you can really make the gift something unique.