From a very close friend/family member, I like the idea of them actually taking the time to choose a gift for me, but if they want to take the easy way out and give me a gift card, that is okay with me. Actually, those Master Card debit cards you can get at various places are pretty cool. You can use them anywhere that takes MC credit cards, so more variety in using it. I got one from my boss today (along with the gardenia-scented candle mentioned in the "Regiftin" forum). They are not reloadable, so once they are gone, that's it.
A gift card is the modern version of a gift certificate, and I was raised in a time when getting a gift certificate meant the person didn't care enough about you to take the time to pick out a "real" gift.
**exceptions being the elderly or infirmed that couldn't get out and shop**
That old gift certificate stigma is gone, but the mindset of giving a card because they don't want to take the time to choose a personal gift still prevails with many.

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