A few years ago, I gave my sister a giftcard from Eddie Bauer. I knew she liked their products; I needed to find another $50 item for her; and my daughter who was working at Eddie Bauer for the Christmas season could use her 20% discount to get the card for me.
Omigod! You would have thought I'd given my sister a lump of coal.
She let me know in no uncertain terms that a giftcard is thoughtless, a lazy shopper's way out and no way for loving sisters to exchange gifts.
So, lesson learned.
Except that this year, when I queried my children and grandchildren about gifts they'd like to see under the Christmas tree, a surprisingly large number WANTED gift cards--cards to Victoria's Secret, IKEA, Amazon.com, Starbuck's and Nordstrom's.
I can understand, given my somewhat eccentric tastes, why some of my family might NOT want Grace picking out individual gifts but cards bother me a little since it then becomes clear to everyone exactly how much I'm spending on them for Christmas.
Also, how many ways can one wrap a giftcard so that it is any kind of surprise?
Finally, I worry that some of my adult children will spend the giftcards for regular living expenses, not something special for Christmas.
But is that any of my business? If one of my daughters wants to use the giftcard for her boyfriend, should it matter to me? If one uses the giftcard for groceries instead of the clothes I wanted her to buy, what of it?
I'm not a person who particularly likes to shop. Giving giftcards makes it very easy for me, and in many ways, I appreciate that.
In the end, I probably will give cards to those who requested them.
But NOT to my sister!
NEVER again, to my sister!