The ratio of "people I like for whom I buy Christmas gifts" to "people I do not like but for whom I am obligated to buy Christmas gifts" is dangerously close to 1:1. As I currently live slightly above the Federal definition of the poverty line, I end up getting nothing for the majority of my actual friends.

This could easily turn into a discussion of commercialization of holidays, the bizarre tendency of our society to equate shopping with affection, or any number of other social theories that might help explain this behavior. Instead I simply wish to salute the gifts that scream "I don't particularly care about you, but I am obligated to get you something." Standing head and shoulders above the other contenders in this field is the $25 Best Buy gift card.

Card: $25. Passive-aggressively communicating ambivalence through gifting: priceless.

Honestly, is there any gift that more clearly says "I put absolutely no thought into getting you something" than a Best Buy gift card? Gift certificates in general are an extraordinarily lazy gift, but the Best Buy card goes above and beyond the norm – it's the most generic of gifts from the most generic retail outlet.

The Borders/BN gift cards are a close second, but they lose out based on the fact that the purchaser is at least acknowledging that the recipient likes fancy book learnin' and other non-battery powered pastimes. It's an informal rule. If you're in college you get a Borders card; if not, then welcome to Best Buy.

Any other worthy nominees? Feel free to list them in the comments. And feel equally free to use this link to buy a gift card for that not-so-special someone in your life.

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  1. Liz Says:

    My dad has clung tenaciously to the tradition of getting us pajamas for Christmas. However, instead of "asking us what size we wore" or "considering our personal tastes," he has, of late, simply purchased us a gift card.

    To Victoria's Secret.

    Which moves swiftly past "thoughtful," considers but does not acknowledge "adequate," and plunges deep into "a little creepy, actually."

  2. Cathy Says:

    I think a WalMart gift card is the ultimate insult.

  3. erik Says:

    That reminds me, I need to go get some best buy gift cards.

  4. Scott Says:

    I actually just saw a commercial for Speedway gift cards. It's got to be worse than a Best Buy gift card – the best thing can buy with a gift card to a convenience store is beef jerky.

  5. Ed Says:

    Or, you know, gas.

  6. Liz Says:

    I would fall prostrate at the feet of anyone who got me a gas card.

  7. Scott Says:

    Yep, nothing says Merry Christmas like petroleum distillate.

  8. Cathy Says:

    Our state lottery is running commercials saying that lottery tickets are great Christmas gifts. Ewww.

  9. Samantha Says:

    I agree with Cathy. Nothing says, "I care nothing for you" like a Wal-Mart gift card.