The thought of holiday shopping often induces anxiety. Well-intentioned people respond to such a confession with, “Oh, it’s the thought that counts,” but that only adds more fuel to the proverbial Yule Log fire.
For me, gift cards are great. They’re quick. They’re efficient. You can walk up to the end cap at your local grocery store and find cards for everyone in your life. Fifteen minutes and you have the whole family covered. Bing. Bang. Boom. No holiday rush. No stress at the mall. Not to mention, it’s a sound approach at keeping to a responsible budget like an adult.
My good friend, Jim is a coffee addict. They know him by name at all of the local Starbucks. Says so on his cup. Each Christmas, I can look forward to knowing that one of his daily venti mocha lattes with almond milk is on me. You’re welcome, Jim.
And, my family love to go out to dinner. Nothing says “I appreciate your love for the culinary arts” by bestowing them with a $25 gift card to Olive Garden. One loves bread and the other loves cheese. It’s a win-win situation.
But, when I get a gift card, it sits on my desk for months, or longer. The pressure of being able to purchase whatever I want weighs on me. It’s not so much that I don’t know what I want. Sometimes there’s the fear of judgement. Knowing that whatever I do buy with that card, I have to report back what I purchased. And, I’m not sure I’m ready to explain why I bought a used copy of SWV’s 1992 release “It’s About Time.” It went triple platinum and I get weak for New Jack.
All kidding aside, gift cards to make for a good gift. You just may want to supply more thought into purchasing one than I do. Here are a few more ideas I promise are better planned out.
Single men may want to avoid this topic. You don’t want to buy earrings. Earrings come in a small box and that leaves the impression that you’ve bought a ring. If you bought a ring, well, it better be THE ring. Now you see where I’m going. Approach this avenue with extreme caution.
Otherwise, one can find unique articles of jewelry from places like Joyelles Jewelers in Delmar. The jeweler carries an assortment of both new and estate jewelry; watches, rings, necklaces and more. The store also carries scents, lotions and scarves, too.
It doesn’t matter what year it is, a baseball bat or mitt can still light up a kid’s holiday. And, if you’re looking to help that kid’s future career as a slugger for the New York Yankees, a bat can be an investment they can’t quite afford. Steiners Sports in Glenmont carries items from various sports, including top-of-the-line bicycles.
So you want to purchase a bond or certificate of deposit? There are many ways to gift someone money over the holidays. Speaking to a financial advisor would be your first step. Key Bank, Saratoga National, Sunmark FCU and other institutions can walk you through options, from CDs to 529 education plans and more. Depending on your plans, you may want to ask about other investments that can be purchased as a custodial account under the Uniformed Gifts to Minors Act.
Sometimes you don’t know what to get. The person you’re thinking about has such a variety of interests, it’s difficult to pinpoint which one is the current favorite. Spending money on an item they’re no longer interested in can be a disappointment for you. Getting a gift card, however, is a great alternative. Whether it be a restaurant or favorite store, reach out or visit the establishment. There’s no guarantee the grocery store will carry them, not to mention you may have more options available to you. Upstate Wine & Spirits allows you to purchase a gift certificate of any amount. A $25 gift card could make the difference between a 750 milliliter bottle of Knob Creek Bourbon Small Batch Smoked Maple and a bottle of Knob Creek Bourbon Single Barrel Reserve 9-year.
Introducing a kid to an epic book series like J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” or Frank Herbert’s “Dune” can leave an everlasting impression. It not only welcomes them into new, imaginary worlds, they may find themselves building real-life friendships with like-minded fans. If you’re not sure what books may be appropriate, you can always visit a store like I Love Books in Delmar and ask a staff member for help.
This article also appears in the December edition of our FamilyNOW monthly magazine.