We get it. When it comes to presents, gift cards can feel about as impersonal as an unmarked envelope full of cash.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! Gift cards can be thoughtful — like, really thoughtful — if you choose with intention. An obvious but effective strategy is to find a gift card to your giftee’s favorite restaurant, cafe or retailer. There’s also the practical route: Does your giftee have an upcoming trip? Home renovation project? A sky-high grocery budget? Bam, hit them with a relevant gift card.
Want to go even bolder? How about showing how you know your recipient better than they know themselves — all while encouraging them to try something new — by presenting them with a gift card to a store you have a hunch they’ll love?
However you approach them, gift cards have a lot going for them. They can be gifted literally at the last second and sent via email, with no postage required. They likely won’t return them or leave them to gather dust in your giftee’s closet, forgotten and unused like an unwanted scarf. In essence, gift cards represent a bunch of potential presents that your giftee can enjoy picking out themselves.
Sold on the versatile and convenient magic of gift cards? To help you choose the right card for whatever kind of recipient you’re searching for, we’ve rounded up a list of gift card ideas for everyone on your list:
Best Gift Card for the Music Lover
Spotify Gift Card
Shopping for someone with specific musical tastes can be tricky. But if they can recite the Beatles’ discography backward and forward, love Taylor Swift more than some of their family members, and/or kill it at karaoke, they’ll dig a Spotify gift card.
To be clear, a Spotify gift card is really a subscription to Spotify Premium. There are several Spotify gift card options, including ones good for three-, six- and 12-month subscriptions. A Spotify Premium membership gets you on-demand and offline access to Spotify’s massive library of millions of songs and thousands of podcasts.
Best Gift Card for the Fitness Fan
Lululemon Gift Card
No matter their fitness pursuit — be it yoga, hiking, kickboxing or marathon running — your recipient will find an outfit that is both accommodating and straight-up styling at Lululemon. The retailer is arguably the queen of fitness wear, a veritable treasure trove of yoga pants, sports bras and athleisure wear.
Plus, besides chic athletic apparel, Lululemon sells yoga mats, towels, foam rollers and other essentials.
Best Gift Card for the Fashionista
Free People Gift Card
There are fashionistas in our lives we wouldn’t dare attempt to buy clothes for, and that’s where gift cards come in handy. This plan works best if you know the preferred brand(s) of the giftee in question or at least their general style.
For the trendy bohemian, you can’t go wrong with a gift card for Free People, a playground of stylish-but-personality-packed dresses, outerwear, intimates and activewear. Its collection is extensive and eclectic, so we’re willing to bet your giftee will find something that tickles their fashion fancy, even if they’ve never shopped FP before.
Best Gift Card for the Beauty Lover
Sephora Gift Card
Is your giftee a makeup lover? Easy peasy. Treat them to a gift card to Sephora, the undisputed haven for all things beauty.
No matter what their aesthetic, your recipient is bound to find something amid the aisles upon aisles of eye shadow, lip stain, mascara and bronzers from a seemingly endless array of beauty brands. And the open-sell, try-before-you-buy structure means your giftee gets to have fun while they’re shopping, too.
Best Gift Card for the Traveler
Airbnb Gift Card
Yes, Airbnb does offer gift cards, and yes, they are the bee’s knees. An Airbnb gift card is basically a key to incredible homes around the world, from cozy yurts in Colorado to private island resorts in Belize.
It’s great for world travelers, aspiring world travelers, digital nomads, and anyone who went a little stir-crazy during the pandemic (read: everyone.)
Best Gift Card for the Bookworm
Audible Gift Card
The cool thing about Audible gift cards is you can choose to gift a specific audiobook or a membership. Go the specific title route, and you can choose from over 10,000 audiobooks and have your choice delivered instantly. If your giftee already has the audiobook in their Audible library, Audible will change the gift to credit so they can choose another title.
Alternatively, if you go the gift membership route, you can choose to gift a one-, three-, six- or 12-month Audible subscription. Memberships include one monthly credit for any title in the Audible premium library, in addition to unlimited access to exclusive original podcasts and series from the Audible Plus Catalog.
Best Gift Card for the Foodie
Trader Joe’s Gift Card
People’s obsession with Trader Joe’s borders on cult status. It’s easy to understand why. Despite being a national chain, Trader Joe’s manages to give off a vibe that is quirky, friendly and distinctly hometown-esque. The supermarket dishes out low prices on unique food items, from salsas to cheeses to ready-to-eat meals. Whether your giftee is craving TJ’s Cheddar Rocket Crackers, tiny avocados or Mediterranean-style hummus, you can bring their hankerings to fruition with a Trader Joe’s gift card
The catch? Trader Joe’s only sells and accepts physical gift cards in stores. That means you’ll have to head to your local TJ’s to purchase one. (There are worse things.)
Best Gift Card for the Busy College Student
Dunkin’ or Starbucks Gift Card
It’s a scientifically proven fact: college students need caffeine. Ideally, lots of it, and ideally at all times of the day and night. That’s why a Starbucks or Dunkin’ gift card is a smart choice. They’ve got locations basically everywhere, and a smattering of them are open 24 hours.
Note Dunkin’ doesn’t have locations in all states (yet), so it’s worth doing some quick research to ensure Dunkin’ locations are readily available to your recipient before pulling the trigger.
Best Gift Card for the Outdoor Lover
REI Gift Card
For over 80 years, REI has been outfitting outdoorsy people with apparel, footwear and equipment for all manners of pursuits. Camping and hiking? Check. Paddleboarding? Check. Snowshoeing? Check.
No matter the outdoorsy adventure your recipient is into, an REI gift card is their golden ticket to top-quality gear.
Best Gift Card for the Movie Lover
Fandango Gift Card
For the film buff who’s seen everything from Casablanca to Bio-Dome, consider a Fandango gift card. It’ll connect your recipient with tickets to over 45,000 screens at major and local movie theaters like AMC, Regal Cinema, Cinemark and Alamo Drafthouse.
If you want to treat your giftee to dinner and a flick, you also have the option to purchase a dinner-and-a-movie gift card combo. This two-in-one gift card includes a $25 credit to Fandango plus a $25 Olive Garden gift card.
Deal: Get 10% off on all gift cards over $50.
Best Gift Card for the Gamer
Meta Quest Gift Card (aka Oculus Gift Card)
The future of gaming is here, and it’s virtual reality (aka VR). If you’ve got a VR gamer in your life who agrees, consider hooking them up with a Meta Quest gift card (formerly known as an Oculus gift card). The versatile gift card can be used toward the selection of more than 350 games and apps in the Meta Quest store, unlocking virtual reality experiences ranging from fantasy adventures to sports games to vacation simulations. Before buying, just make sure your giftee has one of the Meta Quest headsets.
Best Gift Card for the Homeowner
West Elm Gift Card
Fancy schmancy West Elm home furniture and décor is the stuff of homeowner dreams. You can help your giftee realize their fantasy of redesigning their living room in shades of teal or outfitting their backyard in sustainably sourced wooden patio furniture with a West Elm gift card.
Best Gift Card for the Person You Don’t Know Very Well
Amazon E-Gift Card
OK, so maybe the reason you’re looking for a gift card is that you actually don’t know your recipient that well. The solution is simple. Hit them with an Amazon e-gift card. These handy little babies can be used on any of Amazon’s millions of products, meaning your giftee can use it toward everything from massage guns to throw pillows with Nicolas Cage’s face on them.
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