I know that there’s some crazy statistic about the amount of gift cards that go unused. And as a gift-obsessed Gifty McGifty, I do love the idea of giving someone something they can open — most of the time. But to me the holy grail of gift giving is surprise and delight — and gift cards have the power to do both.

Back in October, when it was my birthday, I got a number of gift cards.  Family members gave me Soul Cycle gift cards because it is my biggest vice and I was so grateful every time my in-box went ping and there was a card for another class.

I wasn’t expecting a gift from my dear friend, Karen Greene. But there went that email ping and it was for something totally unexpected — a gift card for the Francis Ford Coppola winery.  Just the idea that she’d put time and energy (she’s a busy lady!) into such an imaginative gift filled me up.


Then last weekend, I was having a rough time of it. Too much time in the car post Thanksgiving. Too much on my plate in the week ahead.  I was online, trying to shop for others without the harrow of express shipping fees when I remembered Karen’s gift.

I sat in front of our fake fireplace, with a hot toddy, and I spent a blissful hour treating myself.  I ended up getting the cutest Mason Jar mugs for the pool, which makes me dream of sunny days.  I also decided to try a bottle of their Mr. Youree nonalcoholic bubbles.  I have a lot of friends who don’t drink.  And I got a very nice bottle for myself. So much good stuff:  this gift card went so far.

Then a few days later, the Coppola team sent an email to check in about how I wanted my items packaged and shipped. Talk about customer service.  And voila, the gifts arrived tonight. Early December and the holiday bounty has already begun to pour in.  So don’t be afraid of sending gift cards. They have the capacity to be awesome.