Does the idea of simply handing over a gift card to a friend leave you cold? Statistics show people love receiving gift cards for the holidays, but you can warm up this simplest-of-all gifts by personalizing the gift-card holder.
For those without time, a glue gun and dedicated craft room, we've assembled the following 21 ideas for dressing up your gift cards. Some are so easy you should already have the makings on hand or can buy them at your local thrift or dollar store.
1. Sock it to 'em: Wrap a gift card inside a pair of socks, gloves or slippers that can either be re-purposed or are so hideous they'll be recycled for next year's gift cards.
2. Knit one--pearl two: It only takes a few stitches to knit or crochet a small "sock" to hold each of your gift cards.
3. Gamblers glory: Hide a casino gift card in a deck of playing cards.
4. Picture perfect: Slip a photo gift certificate inside a picture frame. The frame makes a second gift.
5. Book 'em, Danno: Pad your gift of a book by leaving a book-store gift card as the bookmark. Or bookmark a tattered second-hand book on the theme of the card (i.e. fashion, travel, etc.)
6. The best part of waking up: Leave a gift card for a specialty coffee shop in an inexpensive mug next to the coffee maker, or stuff it into a pound of coffee beans. Either way, it's sure to surprise even non-morning people.
7. Tie one on: Rewrap an old tie box, substituting the gift card for the tie. Dad will be pleasantly surprised to NOT find another tie.
8. Tuneful: Leave on the sleeve from a truly dreadful CD from a thrift store tape the card to the original CD.
9. Out in the garden: Tuck a garden-store gift card in a small terra-cotta pot filled with potting soil.
10. Purse those lips: Little girls love purses, so fill up a purse with small toys, lip balm and candies and slip in a gift card to her favorite store.
11. Minty fresh: Small mint tins are the perfect size for a gift card package. Just cover the label and inside the tin with holiday-theme gift wrap.
12. Sachet this way: Make or buy a small sheer fabric sachet bag filled with lavender and the gift card. Tie it off with a satin ribbon.
13. Christmas tree ornaments: Take a flat ornament and attach the gift card with a glue gun. Or wedge a card under or between the hands of a Santa ornament. This works well for all types of gift cards and can be hung from the tree to avoid losing in the pile of gifts below.
14. Going to the animals: Kids of all ages will love receiving a plush stuffed animal with a gift card clutched in its paws or its mouth. Use a light application from a glue gun to keep the paws together.
15. Dolly wants a gift card: The same ideas as with a stuffed animal but this time use a new or discarded doll to hold the gift card.
16. Toy wallet: For young children, fill a toy wallet with gift cards in small increments to toy stores, iTunes and fast food restaurants.
17. First base: Prop a sports-store gift card in the palm of a baseball glove for the sports enthusiast.
18. A night at the movies: Slit open just enough of a microwave popcorn packet to insert a movie gift card into the plastic wrapping and tape closed. Alternately, you can use a box of movie candy.
19. Stuffed stocking: Slide a gift card into one of the tiny Christmas stockings usually sold for pets or infants. This works for a gift card for any type of merchandise.
20. Halloween time: A plastic human skull with a gift card clenched between its jaws will double the fun.
21. Sports fans: Slice open the plastic around a pack of sports cards and slip in your sports store gift card.
My favorite is the deck of cards.