Gift Etiquette: Is a Gift Card Ever Okay?
Yes, you can give a gift card without looking lazy or impersonal, says Lizzie Post, coauthor ofEmily Post's Etiquette, 18th edition.
The secret, she explains, is to think about what your friend has going on in her life at that moment. Is she remodeling her bathroom? Get her a gift card for a home-improvement or home-goods store. Then buy an actual card to go with the gift card (instead of using the cheesy sleeve it comes in) and write a personal message. Tell her why you picked that specific store ("I know you're training for the marathon and thought you could use some new tunes to get you through those long runs!"). Never apologize or make excuses such as "I didn't have time to pick out a real gift since I've been so slammed at work."
And even if the dollar amount is written on the card, never include the receipt.
Video: Rules of Etiquette : How to Give a Gift Certificate
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