I bought them as gifts too. I copped out and gave gift cards as presents for Christmas. Not a lot - just enough to make me part of the problem. I don't recall when it started. People who track stuff like this, say the gift card phenomenon began about 5 years ago. We mindlessly marched to retailers and bought these dumb, dumb gifts. Is it a gift at all? Is it the best gift choice? No & no. Gift cards can never replace the actual "in your hand" gift. Gift cards are nothing but a promise of a gift - as soon as the recipient gets off their butt and goes shopping. This requires much more effort than just ripping off wrapping paper. You have to drive to the store, park, walk in, walk the aisles, make a decision, stand in the checkout lane, walk back to your car & drive home again. That's 8 steps in all - that could've been avoided if you had only selected a gift. Any gift at all would bypass the whole process. Best gift choice? Not by a long shot. Gift cards require you shop a particular store. Of all the shopping choices there are - you must make a trip to Big Earls Supply - because someone gave you a Big Earls Gift card. Does Big Earl have something you want? Maybe - maybe not. Maybe the gift giver loves Big Earls and you wouldn't be caught dead in the place.