"Gift cards are terrific because they allow people to buy what they want," says Mendelsohn. "But a gift card can seem like a thoughtless gift if you don't let them know that you care."
So include a note telling them why you wanted them to have this gift, she says. Or get creative with the presentation. Two of her favorites:
- Gifting your child's teacher with a $10 Starbucks gift card? Wrap it in a coffee mug.
- Giving to someone who's saving for something special? Print a picture of the goal and fasten that to the top of the box.
Chances are there's a very good reason you wanted them to have this particular gift card (a restaurant, product or store they love; something they really want to buy), says Mendelsohn. "At least connect the dots for them."
There are so many ways you can be creative with gift cards, she says. One of her favorites for bar and bat mitzvah gifts is an inexpensive wallet with a handful of gift cards to favorite places. The gift cards can be for movie theaters, clothing stores, coffee shops, music retailers, computer gaming stores, etc.
"Kids love that -- it's a treat," Mendelsohn says. "And parents are thrilled."