This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2021, our list of ideas, by topic, by recipient and by price, to help you discover the perfect gift.
Gift cards get a bad rap. While some people think of them as an uncreative, last-minute gift, to me, gift cards are about freedom. That’s the recipient’s freedom to select the item that they want, not what you think they might like, especially if you’re not completely tuned in to their style or tastes. A gift card also saves the embarrassment and hassle of having to return or exchange an item. The only thing you need to do as the gift giver is know what kind of brand or stores your giftee likes — the rest is easy.
This year, gift cards may also serve another purpose: speed. With the global chip shortage still a byproduct of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, shipping delays on everything from electronics to toys and furniture means you run the risk of a tangible gift getting stuck in the mail or massively delayed. The US Postal Service also faces holiday delays.
Not all gift cards are created equal. We focus on the best of the best.
If you’re on a tight budget, the flexible scale of a gift card means you don’t have to spend a lot of money for it to be useful. We’ll take you through the best options, but if you don’t have it already, one gift card I suggest you look into for the whole family is a Disney Plus subscription — it has just about everything you grew up with and the latest Disney exclusive content including The Mandalorian. (If you need more ideas, also check out our other gift guides that fit a wider variety of tastes.)
Let’s dive headfirst into gift card ideas for everyone on your holiday list!
Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta
There are a lot of deals available on gift cards right now, including:
- Yankee Candle ($50 value for $40 with code CANDLE)
- Cold Stone Creamery ($25 value for $20 with code COLDSTONE)
- Apple ($100 value for $90 with code APPLEDIGITAL)
And gift cards with lots of options, such as:
- Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic or Athleta ($50 value for $40 with code OPTIONS)
From toys and tech to clothes and kitchenware, there’s something for just about anyone to get excited about available from Walmart. Card amounts range from $5 all the way up to $500, with lots of great festive designs to choose from.
Disney/Screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET
This gift card is specifically for the folks who want access to the Disney universe: Disney classics, The Simpsons, Star Wars, Marvel and more. Disney Plus costs $8 a month or $80 for the year. Disney has just about everything for the whole family, so it’s a great year-round gift. And if you’re looking for something a bit more educational, you can catch up on National Geographic as well.
Read our Disney Plus review.
If you’ve got a photography buff in your life, you probably know that they’re always on the hunt for new gear. Unfortunately it’s not always easy to navigate the labyrinth of gear compatibility, and asking directly could give away your gift idea. Instead, give them a B&H gift card so they can get exactly what they need. Amounts range from $20 all the way up to $1,000.
A gift card to Williams Sonoma is a perfect gift for the gourmand in your life. From chef’s knives and appliances to dinnerware and cutlery, it has a great selection of some of the nicest kitchen gear on the market. You can buy a gift card for any amount between $25 and $500.
Williams Sonoma also offers virtual events like cooking and baking classes. The experience makes for a really great, unique gift, and you can give a voucher worth either $25, $50, $75 or $100.
REI/Screenshot by CNET
It might be in the midst of another cold winter at the moment, but sunny skies and open trails are right around the corner. An REI gift card is a great gift for the outdoor enthusiast in your life, as they can gear up right now, or wait until they’re closer to getting back on the road to see what new equipment they need. You can grab a gift card in an amount form $10 to $1,000
Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin are incredible brands with midrange prices. There are several reasons why these Rihanna-led brands are so popular — they work; and both the makeup and skin care center all skin types and tones. This gift card starts at $25, but if you have a little more money to splurge, there are also gift card options all the way up to $200.
There are a number of Apple products that make great gifts, like the new iPad, iPad Mini or the Apple Watch. But it’s easier to give an Apple gift card so someone can choose a gift for themselves, possibly an accessory for tech they already have. You can get a number of cool designs on this Apple gift card in amounts ranging from $25 to $100.
Amazon is the one-stop shop for just about anything online — from toys to tech to designer clothing, you can get it all. Amazon’s gift cards are available in amounts from $1 to $2,000. You can make your gift card snazzy by getting it animated or put your photo or video on it. If that isn’t your style, standard gift card layouts are available as well.
The Cheesecake Factory has so many menu items, it’ll make your head spin. That’s good news for a family of picky eaters or those with a wide variety of tastes. And did we mention the iconic cheesecakes, from tart Key lime to ooey-gooey caramel? Starting at $25 you can get a beautifully designed card. Gifts top out at $250. If for nothing else, use this gift card to get yourself a slice of cheesecake for the holidays — or an entire pie. We won’t tell.
Netflix is one of the juggernauts of streaming content, with plans from $9 to $18 dollars a month. If you have a standard Netflix account, upgrading to the HD streaming option could be a great gift. Or, if your family currently shares an account, the gift of a separate account for family members could come as a welcome gift. Netflix gift cards come in increments of $25, or you can enter your own amount. The design of Netflix gift cards is pretty simple — it’s just its logo, but the card doesn’t need to be flashy when the content is the focus.
This gift card is for all of the gamers out there who just need a little money to help pay for expensive games. Getting a gift card like this is the difference between purchasing one game and potentially two or more. You can get PlayStation Plus gift cards for online multiplayer and monthly games based on how long you want to pay for the membership (one, three or 12 months) or simply get a PlayStation store card for $10 all the way up to $100.
A new video game is always a great gift, but with lots of great digital sales going on all the time, a gift card is going to give you more bang for your buck than buying a physical copy. You can purchase a gift card for the Microsoft store in an amount of $1 to $100, which can be used towards Xbox games, add-ons and DLC, as well as movies and shows and other digital content.
There’s nothing like getting a gift card for personal care products. Typically, this works best for people who already know what kind of styling products, hand lotion or makeup they like, so the shopping can be done all online. However, this gift card also works for folks who want to go in store and look around for discounts and designer makeup as well. You can buy the Ulta gift card for $25, $50, $100 or $250 on the website — or you can name your own amount.
Target is a treasure trove of home goods and so much more. There’s a reason why people joke that they walk into Target with a list and leave with more than they expected. This store is just that good at enticing people to buy. This gift card starts at $5, but you can add up to $500 total, for example, if you’re giving a gift for an entire family.
What do you get for the gamer in your home who’s always on Twitch? One you can do is provide them with this gift card ranging from $15 to $200, and they’ll be able to redeem it for Bits or subs to support a streamer of their choice. It also unlocks special benefits to subscribers as well.
If you’re shopping for someone who likes tech, Best Buy is a solid bet. Computers, phones, TVs, small appliances and more — it’s got it all. There are no expiration dates or fees, and it offers both physical and digital cards ranging from $15 to $500. The retailer also offers several options for its gift cards, so you can get one that suits the recipient.
The Uber gift card can be redeemed either in Uber, for rides, or Uber Eats, for food delivery. It can be perfect for folks in urban locales or for friends and family that usually rely on public transportation. Plus, the flexibility of being able to have food delivered to their home will also be popular with anyone who wants one last task on their plate. The amount available ranges from $25 to $200.
Give the gift of a warm meal delivered right to their door. A perfect card for people who are busy and don’t always have time to cook, or those who find it tough to get out right now. Gift cards come in five prices, ranging from $25 to $500, and they’re great because of the flexibility Grubhub provides. Not only are you giving them a night off from cooking, but you’re also not locking them into one specific option. They can grab whatever they’re in the mood for, which is the best kind of gift.
Obviously GameStop is going to appeal more to those people on your list who love gaming, but hear us out — not only does GameStop have a lot of great deals on games, but there are a lot of preowned options available, which often means more bang for your buck. It also sells things like collectables, beyond just video games, consoles and controllers. Gift cards can be set between $5 and $500.
Give the gift of travel with an Airbnb card. Cards are only available digitally, but since you can apply the funds toward any booking, it shouldn’t be a problem. With Airbnb, the giftee can pick their own destination, amenities and length of stay. The card doesn’t ever expire, but it must be linked to their account within 90 days of purchase, so make sure you let them know that when you give it to them. Card amounts run from $25 to $2,000 when you purchase directly from Airbnb.
Whether you’re buying for someone who loves comedy, theater, music festivals or sporting events, Ticketmaster has something for everyone. In the age of Marie Kondo, a lot of people enjoy the idea of giving memories instead of clutter, but it can sometimes be hard to surprise someone if you don’t know their tastes or their availability. With the Ticketmaster gift card they have a lot more choice about what they want to do, which might make the gift even more exciting for them. Plus, with so much uncertainty right now, it might make sense to wait before you book anything specific. Cards come in either digital or physical form and range from $25 to $500.
Sur la table
Sur la table can serve up all your kitchen needs. There is an array of cookware and bakeware available, as well as small kitchen appliances. There are also cooking classes available through them, so that you can become your own master chef.
Give yourself or someone you love the gift of pampering and deep relaxation. And with couples’ massage packages, you can do both.
Give a gift that will help your loved one follow their passions and curiosities, all while learning from the world’s best.
This article was first published last year. It has been updated with the latest gift cards and deals.
The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.
Source by www.cnet.com