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Did you ever notice that every gift you buy is 50% off the day after Christmas? Buy a few inexpensive cheap Christmas gifts or staples that do not go on sale. Let your family enjoy the fun of unwrapping these items. Then buy mall wide gift certificates and let everyone bask in the glow of the post-holiday sales. You'll get twice as much bang for your buck!
I think that gift cards are a real scam. They charge fees and they expire or worse yet they say they will expire on the card but they don't so redeeming them turns into a nightmare fight.
Only give gift cards when you know the fees and returnd policy so that stores don't end up being the grinch to your holidays.