The quest to find the perfect gift is not easy — even if you start early. If your holiday list still has a lot of question marks beside the names of your nearest and dearest, one of our favorite ways to eliminate that uncertainty is with a gift card. It's also a procrastinator's secret in case you find yourself panicking right before a holiday party or office gift exchange. You may be asking, “Isn’t a shopping voucher totally lazy, impersonal, and tacky?” And to that, we say, "Letting your loved ones choose their own gift is one of the greatest gifts of all!" (Take it from a notoriously impossible-to-shop-for Virgo.)
"Meh" reputation aside, gift cards have a lot going for them: There’s also no wrapping-paper waste to deal with, no hauling around clunky boxes, you can set your own budget, there are no taxes or shipping fees, gift cards generally never expire, and, best of all, digital gift cards are guaranteed to deliver immediately, even if you place your orders on Christmas day. And, as a person who always requests receiving gift cards (because I’m that picky), there’s nothing more satisfying than cashing in on all the post-Christmas sales when retailers are in a rush to clear out their stock for the new year. It's a win-win-win-win-win-win.
If a card-based present really doesn’t pass muster, you can also scope out the shopping destinations that are offering in-store pickups (which depends on your proximity to those stores) and expedited delivery (think: overnight or two-day shipping, albeit, usually for a hefty fee). And, wouldn’t you know it, we have a next-day delivery gift guide and a last-minute gift guide specifically tailored for everyone who loves the rush of a deadline. No shame, obvs.
Ahead, peruse our selection of the best gift cards or gift certificates you can give this holiday. E-cards are the way to go if time is of the essence — but, if you’re able to secure a physical gift card, consider presenting it in an extra clever way: My favorite method is to stick it in a money maze puzzle. No matter which adventure you choose, you can have yourself a zero-stress final stretch of holiday shopping ahead.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.