The following is a guest post by Odysseas Papadimitriou.
Around the country, soon-to-be graduates are picking up their caps and gowns and engaged couples are finalizing their wedding plans.
About 3.3 million high school students are expected to graduate in the 2010-2011 school year and colleges and universities are expected to award about 1.7 million bachelor’s degrees, according to the National Center for Education. The majority of these graduations—as you might imagine—will take place in May and June. What’s more, about 30% of all annual weddings take place in the summer, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services statistics.
It therefore seems as if gift giving season is upon us once again. But nothing says the gifts you give and receive this spring and summer need to simply fit the mold of a typical wedding registry or graduation gift. In fact, one way gift givers and recipients can both benefit during this year’s busy wedding/graduation season is by using a gift card registry.
How it works
A gift card registry works like a typical wedding registry…without all the effort. All you must do to set one up is pick your favorite stores and hit the save button. That’s it. There’s no creating an inventory to make sure you don’t get duplicate gifts, and you don’t have to answer the question “so what do you want?” over and over again.
Setting up a gift card registry doesn’t mean limiting your choices either. Your selection isn’t merely comprised of different denominations of iTunes or Amazon gift cards. Rather, seemingly every major retailer, airline, hotel or restaurant chain has its own gift card. The options truly do range from American Airlines and Home Depot to Williams Sonoma and Zappos.com.
A gift card registry has its obvious benefits like no duplicate gifts and no returns. What might not be obvious is why such a registry means better gifts. One of the main reasons for this is that gift cards have no or very low shipping costs and do not require wrapping paper, which is both expensive and wasteful. Gift givers can therefore use their entire gift-giving budgets on the presents themselves and avoid having logistical costs detract from the value of the gift. In addition, gift cards can be used together to buy highly-desired big-ticket items that you’d feel uncomfortable asking for on a traditional registry. This will allow that graduate or newly-betrothed couple to get something they truly need or want most of all—like airfare for a honeymoon or that rite-of-passage post-graduation backpacking trip through Europe.
Well, we already squashed the notion that a gift card registry means a lack of gift variety. So what about the common refrain that gift cards are impersonal, that a wedding or graduation calls for something more from the heart? While this is a valid point, what really matters at the end of the day are the gift recipient’s wishes. If this person shares the viewpoint that gift cards are impersonal, then he or she won’t have a gift card registry.
On the other hand, if the recipient has a registry, a gift card is obviously what he or she wants most.
Besides, such a registry not only provides gift givers with the opportunity to select presents from the recipient’s favorite stores, but gift cards can also be packaged in such a way as to be immensely personal. You could hand paint a keepsake box to give the gift card in; you could present it in a decorative frame; you could give it as part of a personalized gift basket. There’s no shortage of ways to make a gift card unique.
Ultimately, a gift card registry isn’t for everyone, but with gift cards routinely being named the most desired gift of the winter holiday season, some soon-to-be graduates and married couples are sure to make gift card wish lists a priority this spring.
This guest article was written by Odysseas Papadimitriou, founder and CEO of Card Hub, a website that helps consumers buy and sell gift cards with its one-of-a-kind social gift card exchange.