In December 2009, I was interviewed by a reporter on what did I suggest as a great gift going forward for 2010.

My response was to give gift cards. Many times we don’t really know what someone else would enjoy, and a gift card seemed to be a perfect answer. I suggested gift cards for dining, gas, groceries, department stores, books, theater tickets etc. But now, I’m not sure that was the best answer. The latest statistics about gift cards are eye opening.

Ben Woolsey of CreditCards.com, a seasoned expert on credit card consumer product and industry trends, says about $5 billion worth of gift cards issued during the 2009 holiday season will be lost to fees or expiration dates, misplaced or forgotten. That is a lot of money that will go to waste and makes us pause to think about the type of gift card as well as the recipient.

So, in rethinking my gift card suggestion, you may have to do a little work to find just the right gift.  If you know something about the individual, of course that is easier. If they love cooking and entertaining, that is a slam dunk because of the wealth of products associated with that person’s hobby. If, on the other hand, you know nothing about what the individual likes, scout out some connections to that person and do due diligence. For example, a boss’ assistant knows so much – what he/she likes, where he/she dines, what kind of books they read. If the gift is for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah or Sweet Sixteen, ask a parent or relative what would be appropriate.

If connections cannot be found, there are some great sites on the internet with wonderful gift ideas.  One of our Facebook friends, Cool Mom Picks, offers excellent family minded suggestions! I’m sure you know of a few yourselves, or ask your friends.

Each situation is different and I will still continue to give gift cards, but now I’m going to be more targeted. I will also wrap my gift card in a box instead of enclosing it in an envelope. The box may be easier to house the card than an envelope and boxes are always more fun to unwrap!

Do you have any suggestions that might make gift giving better?

...because that would Make Momma Happy.