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I'm not sure what you buy for as gifts for your friends, but I'm seeing an unfortunate trend in buying gift cards as an excuse for a present.
There used to be a time when buying a gift took a lot of thought, and when the gift was given, the person receiving it would appreciate how much time and effort you put into getting them this gift.
On top of that, it was a time where the thought really counted, not the monetary value of an object.
But, with gift cards, now it is.
A long time ago, when my friend invited me to her birthday party to celebrate her becoming six, she was overjoyed to be showered by doll houses and other little toys.
The most you get from giving a person a gift card is a meaningless thanks. We've all been in the awkward position of either giving too much or giving too little, in terms of money anyways. If your buddy gives the birthday boy a $50 gift card for Walmart, how weird will it feel if you only scrapped off $20 for him? You also might as well say "I'm too lazy to get you something thoughtful, so here's some money and get whatever crap you're into."
Really, take a moment and think about what you're giving a friend a gift. You're really showing what your friend means to you, and if it's just money, that's saying quite a bit about yourself.