Find yourself stuck looking for the perfect present for that special someone? Or maybe you’re doing last-minute shopping and need a great gift in a jiff? Whatever the case may be, opting for one of the best gift cards is a quick and easy way to celebrate a birthday, holiday, or celebration. Even if it might feel impersonal, receiving a gift card is typically well-accepted and appreciated.
Adults aren’t the only ones hoping for the gift of retail therapy. As it turns out, one recent survey reports that two-thirds of children are perfectly happy receiving gift cards for a holiday present. Similarly, another survey shows that playing it safe with gift shopping is always a sure bet. The poll reveals that gift cards are one of the most “universally enjoyed gifts.”
And if you’re really worried that a gift card just isn’t thoughtful or surprising, consider where you buy the gift card from. While giving someone money to spend at a big-box retailer is an obvious go-to for many, you can always be more creative. That means looking at more off-the-beaten-path stores or services that are more in line with the hobbies or interests of your recipient. To that point, one survey shows that the best holiday gift should be a surprise, according to four in five adults. Finding somewhere unique and unexpected can certainly fulfill that requirement.
So, all that said, where are experts saying you should buy gift cards from? Well, naturally some of the very, very obvious choices made our list. But you may also find some new ideas you hadn’t thought of as well which could bode well for that more thoughtful, surprising choice. We visited 14 expert sites to see their lists for the best gift cards to give someone and came away with the most recommended ideas. Have your own unique places to add? Please let us know in the comments below!
The List: Best Gift Cards, According to Experts
There’s probably no safer bet than an Amazon gift card considering the online behemoth has just about everything, including kitchen sinks. And that’s likely why it appeared on eight of the reviews we checked out.
“Amazon gift cards are as useful as they come. Whether they need to restock household essentials, try out a new gadget, or treat themselves to whatever it is they’ve been eyeing, you can be sure this gift will be put to use,” says Town & Country.
And if you think that an Amazon gift card is the most thoughtless gift there is, the company does allow you to create a pretty cool video so at least there’s some personalization involved. “What’s really cool is you can send a standard design, animated, or even upload your own photo or short video (30 seconds max). This personalized option, especially a video, makes the gift card feel really special and not like an afterthought,” notes The Spruce.
Good Housekeeping points out another benefit of going with Amazon: The recipient could actually put it to use on necessities, like groceries, especially if they’re in a tough spot financially. “OK, so an Amazon gift card is not the most original idea on the block. But it can open the door for your recipient to buy anything from a special treat to much-needed groceries, so it might be the most versatile option out there.”
MasterClass was the clear second-place winner when tallying up the best gift card ideas. ApartmentTherapy.com ranked the popular learning site as top overall. “You’re never too old to learn — especially when it comes from gleaning knowledge from masters of their craft like Gordon Ramsay, Alicia Keys, Shonda Rhimes, and more. Master Class gives your recipient access to all the greats, with dedicated lessons geared towards upping their knowledge around the things that interest them the most, like songwriting, cooking, and interior design. Gift a membership, and watch their world open up.”
Good Housekeeping adds, “Lifelong learners will love the opportunity to hear from experts on just about any topic you can imagine. A MasterClass subscription is an inspirational way to start any new year, and perfect for that person who already has everything they need.”
RealSimple says an all-access pass will allow members to watch whatever they want for an entire year. But they recommend pointing out why you specifically picked this gift card for them. “Take some time to research classes the recipient will like and list them in the message to get them excited about using their gift ASAP.”
Consider Etsy the Amazon of clothing and home goods — without that “big-box-everything-store” feeling of Amazon. Even better is the ability to personalize many items to your recipient’s delight. That comes especially in handy for people who prefer receiving something that shows an adequate level of thoughtfulness.
“We all have that one person in our life. You love them dearly, but they’re impossible to please. It might be a case of them having everything they already need, or their tastes are constantly changing. Either way, Etsy should have something even the pickiest person will love and swoon over,” writes The Spruce.
“If you want to give a handmade gift, an Etsy gift card is the way to go. From knitted hats to personalized sweaters, there’s always something new and interesting to be found on this creative marketplace,” notes Parade.
You can also feel good about every purchase made on the site: “Etsy is the go-to for those who like to shop small businesses. But warn your recipient when they open it: Choosing just one to support will be a real challenge,” adds Good Housekeeping.
With Amazon topping the list, it’s no surprise that Target would also appear here too. The benefit, of course, with Target is that recipients are more likely to take a visit to their local store so they can shop in person (and return in person, too).
“You can’t go wrong with a gift card from Target. The mass retailer has something for everyone in need of restocks, from home essentials like furniture by celebrity interior designers and non-toxic cleaning products to stylish closet staples and office supplies. You can send a Target gift card via email, snail mail, or even text,” mentions Rolling Stone.
Target may also be an ideal spot for younger adults. “Especially perfect for anyone moving to a new dorm or apartment, a Target gift card gives them access to everything from home essentials and decor to clothes and pantry staples,” says Business Insider.
Town and Country loves this idea. “Target: it seems to be everyone’s happy place. Inevitably, she’ll end up spending way more than planned, but at least you can help contribute to whatever goodies she finds, whether it’s groceries, homewares, or a new pair of shoes.”
5. The Sill
There are plenty of studies showing the benefits of being surrounded by nature when it comes to health, and that extends to having house plants too. That’s why a gift card to plant delivery service, The Sill, might be very well appreciated by your recipient.
“If you picked a plant mom for secret Santa but don’t know the first thing about having a green thumb, consider plant retailers like The Sill to be your saving grace. Any plant lover will be elated to receive a gift card like this, which they can use to pick up a brand new plant, or accessories and goods for their existing plants,” says Town & Country.
“The Sill is a great resource for plants in sleek, trendy containers. If you’re not sure what plant they’d want or what their plant maintenance level is, a gift card leaves it up to them to choose,” writes Business Insider.
Good Housekeeping also points out, “If they’ve got enough plants already, the retailer also has gorgeous planters and stands to display them in style.”
You might also be interested in:
- Best Valentine’s Day Gifts for Her
- Best Valentine’s Day Gifts for Him
- Best Christmas Gifts for Fathers
- Best Tech Gifts
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.