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Most of us grandparents lived in a time where nothing was virtual. We like to see people face to face and we like our gifts to be purchased, wrapped and then opened right in front of us by an appreciative recipient.

But times have changed.

First of all many of us are still under ever-changing rules and regulations concerning the Covid virus. Even if we’re vaccinated, we may not want to travel this Christmas and visit folks who may or may not be taking proper precautions for our safety and health.

Secondly, it gets harder and harder to find just the perfect gift for younger people in the family. Even young children may have specific and changing favorites when it comes to gifts as my five year old grandson recently told me, “I don’t do Peppa Pig anymore.”

So when we have a great desire to please our loved ones this holiday season, purchasing gift cards may be just the thing. Gift cards come in all denominations and are available from virtually any kind of store. Here are some to consider:

Department and Retail Stores

Whether the shopper purchases clothing or a new kitchen appliance, gloves or perfume, department stores are a wonderful gift card choice. Think Macy’s or Kohl’s in the US and Marks and Spencer or Asda in the UK.

Clothing Stores

Most of us prefer to select our own clothing. So often gifts have to be returned for size, color or design errors. Give your loved one a gift card to their favorite clothing store.

Grocery Stores

Young and old alike are paying more for their grocery items. The older folks on our shopping list will love getting a gift card to their favorite grocery store and they can even have the groceries shipped right to their front door. A gift card for groceries may help your friend or loved one get through these tough times.

One Stop Shopping Stores

The beauty of one stop shopping stores is we can find everything we need without lots of driving. Stores like Fred Meyer, Morrison’s in the UK and the like offer lots of choices when used by the recipient.

Technology Outlets

Apple, Fry’s, Amazon, Best Buy. Curry’s and others offer the technology “stuff” that our young people love. From video games to computer parts to various apps and gadgets, technology gifts are always popular.

Specialty Shops

Purchase cards from music stores, sporting goods stores, make-up or perfume outlets or candles, lotions and bath shops. Think of what your recipient loves and there will be a gift card to match. If your person has a much-loved pet, think about finding a gift for that puppy, bird, or kitten as well.

Local Businesses

If you’re shopping for those living nearby, you may choose to help local businesses stay afloat in this pandemic environment. Local restaurants, book stores, beauty salons, and any business that is locally owned and not part of a corporate chain need our help to stay in business.

Food Delivery Services

There are food delivery services that deliver hot meals from local restaurants, and there are those that deliver groceries so you can cook your meal at home. Either one of these would be a welcome gift this Christmas. Try Grubhub, Door Dash, Just Eat and Food Hub for restaurant delivery. Try Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Fresh and Easy or Gobble for meals to make at home. In the UK try Zested, Feast Box, Mindful Chef or Gousto.

Generic Cards

You can always purchase a generic gift card which is just like cash and can be used for anything. These cards, such as VISA come with purchase fees, so be aware of the extra expense.

Fun Ways to Give the Cards

Once you’ve purchased the perfect card for your recipient, it’s fun to design a way to wrap or present it. Here are a few creative ideas:

  •  Embed the card(s) in a holiday wreath
  •  Add to a food item such as a jar of M and M’s or a cup filled with candy canes
  •  Wrap in a ball of holiday-colored yarn
  •  Place in a cute Christmas stocking or attach to a paper Christmas tree
  •  Place in a wallet
  •  For children, place the card in a paper monster just behind the teeth
  •  Place the card in with a beautiful Christmas ornament
  •  Attach to a toy or other small holiday decoration

Gift cards are a practical way to solve all your Christmas shopping problems and they’re guaranteed to bring joy to those who receive them.