Three Ways to Make Gift Cards More Personal

I’ve never been a good gift opener. In fact, I’m down right awkward. Whenever I am presented with something and am asked to open it (yes, RIGHT then… in front of him/her, God, and everyone), I squirm a bit, ramble on about how they “shouldn’t have”, pretend to struggle with the ribbon/paper, and silently pray the giver will “forget” or get bored with my slow efforts and walk away. I’ve even pretended to be called away for an emergency in the middle of opening a gift. Why am I so ridiculous? Well, I have no idea. But, I am a bad liar. A terrible liar. And yes, while gift giving is all about the thought, I know that if someone gives me something I don’t care for/understand, it doesn’t matter what polite things I say- the truth will be written all over my red, fibbing face. I know there are people who love opening gifts and don’t feel “pressure” to perform like a circus act of gratitude. If you are one of those people, I doubt you know the anxiety of opening the unknown, hoping you love what is underneath the wrapping – not for your own gain but for the ability to be able to express genuine excitement to the person who took the time to think of you (without a semi-contorted face like you smelled something bad).

For this reason (and perhaps some selfish ones also), I love receiving gift cards as gifts. I can put the amount toward something that is more expensive that I would ever ask to receive, tuck it away until I really know what I want, or take myself on a spree and treat myself to something I never knew I needed until I saw it. But, even though gift cards are a favorite gift to receive, I sometimes have a difficult time giving them to others because I don’t want my gifts to lack sentiment. So today, I have a solution. I’m sharing three ways to make gift cards more personal.



If you give someone a Williams-Sonoma gift card, show them why you chose that gift card out of all the cards hanging in the kiosk of your local Kroger/Food Lion/Safeway. Presenting a list says you know them well enough and selecting a gift wouldn’t be difficult, but you are thoughtful enough to let them decide what they want most.


The majority of the sentiment is in the search.


And, instead of using a card, wrap it as you would any gift you would pick up while out shopping. You can make anything special; it’s all in the presentation and proving you put thought into it.





If you are planning to give a gift card, present it in a luggage tag. If you want to gift a wallet or a passport case, consider adding a gift card inside. Tucking in an unexpected surprise is like biting into an m&m and realizing it has an almond in the center.


Think of vessels in which this would work and use it as the wrapping.






I am all about themed gifts. If you caught my gift guide on “pairings” (HERE), you probably already knew that 😉


Especially with a gourmet/housewares gift card like Williams Sonoma, creating a custom basket and topping it off with that extra little treat is easy. And, you can pick up everything you need, including the gift card, at the grocery store.


I assembled a simple pasta basket using angel hair pasta, an oven mitt, a wooden spatula and spoon, a Christmas hand towel, a mini colander, olive oil, gourmet tomato sauce, and small jars of garlic salt, Parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes. The accompanying Williams Sonoma gift card infers “insert your own gourmet goodies ‘here'”.



We are officially 10 days away from Christmas and gift exchanges have already begun. If you have struggled to find “just the right thing”, you can make a gift card be the “right thing” with a little extra thought and presentation. Happy shopping and merry Christmas!



*Thank you to Gift Card Mall for partnering on this post | Post contains affiliate links*


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  1. 12.15.16
    Rene' said:

    Thank you so much for putting into words how I have always felt too!!!
    I do not have a poker face and have a ton of stuff that people have given me
    that I feel guilty getting rid of in case that person ever asks me how I am
    enjoying it or wants to see it. Have a very Merry Christmas!

    • 12.15.16

      Haha, yes, Rene’! Bless those thoughtful souls who had wonderful intentions… we just couldn’t handle it 😉

  2. 12.15.16

    Great ideas, Kelley! and so beautifully presented! love and blessings for a wonderful Christmas season~
    Lynda @ Gates of Crystal

    • 12.15.16

      Lynda, thank you so much! Always looking for ways to make things just a little more personal 😉 Wishing you a very merry Christmas!

  3. 12.15.16

    oh my goodness I love these ideas – especially the first one! I wouldn’t have thought to do that and it’s so thoughtful and simple! Thanks for the ideas!

    • 12.15.16

      Christina, I’m so glad! Number 1 is super easy; just takes a few extra minutes to make the difference 😉

  4. 12.15.16

    What wonderful ideas!!!

    • 12.15.16

      Courtney, thank you and thank you for visiting me today! Merry Christmas!

  5. 12.15.16
    Mollie said:

    Kel, these ideas are awesome! Can you make all my presents look that beautiful, pretty please?!

    • 12.15.16

      Mollie, thank you so much! Gifts are just an easy way to continue on with decor 😉

  6. 12.15.16

    This made me want to copy every single gift! And I am a last minute shopper so this was right up my alley! And it makes the gift cards seem way more personal! Thanks for this post!

    • 12.15.16

      I start early but have a tendency to last minute shop for those I’m not sure about. These are some ways to feel good and thoughtful while still taking an easier route 😉

  7. 12.15.16
    Lindsey West said:

    Such wonderful ideas! Thank you for sharing! I’m ashamed to say I’m still not finished! ?

    • 12.15.16

      Lindsey, I’m so glad! And don’t stress; there is still time!

  8. 12.15.16
    Nina Caviggiola said:

    This is seriously the BEST! I love giving gift cards and always feel so awkward, I’m totally doing this for my mom and brother ???? Thank you! And now I have an itch to shop at William Sonoma ❤️

    • 12.15.16

      Nina, thank you so much! Yes, you can make gift cards THE most personal gifts with just a little effort!

  9. 12.15.16
    Stephanie said:

    Love all of these wonderful ideas Kelley! I too love receiving gift cards but feel like they are the least personal to give, so this really helps! ❤️

    • 12.15.16

      Stephanie, I am so glad! Yes, anything can be made more personal 😉

  10. 12.15.16
    Bree said:

    Kelley all of these ideas are so creative and I’m just like you!! I would sooo much rather receive a gift card than a gift, and I give them too mostly vs. a present!! Thanks for another great, informative post!!!

    • 12.15.16

      Bree, thank you for visiting with me! I think we are in agreement haha

  11. 12.15.16

    LOVE all these ideas Kelley! I love receiving gift cards too, but especially if it’s clear some thought went into it.

    • 12.15.16

      Melissa, I am so glad! Thank you- we can all challenge ourselves a little this Christmas 😉

  12. 12.15.16

    This is so creative! I am definitely copying some of these suggestions 🙂

  13. 12.15.16

    You are too clever! Love, love, love these ideas – especially for the hard-to-buy-for friend or family member (myself included!)

    • 12.15.16

      Kris, I am so glad you like them! Sometimes, I have to push myself to put just a little more thought into the simple things. It makes all the difference 😉

  14. 12.15.16
    David Lopez said:

    Fantastic ideas!

  15. 12.15.16
    Bridget said:

    Love all of these ideas! Give me a great idea about what to do with teacher presents!

    • 12.15.16

      Bridget, I am so glad! Yes, these are a perfect approach to teacher gifts!

  16. 12.15.16
    Tamara said:

    Kel these are all so fabulous and I just love your presentation!! Thank you for such great tips!

    • 12.15.16

      Tamara, it’s ALWAYS about the presentation 😉 Thank you for stopping in today!

  17. 12.15.16

    Soooo many great ideas I’ve never even thought of!! Amazing job as always!! Who knew a gift card could be beautiful!!

    • 12.15.16

      Brittany, you can knock out the purchases all at once and then customize when you get home for a super thoughtful gift 😉

  18. 12.15.16
    Shauna said:

    Such a great idea Kelley! I love the idea of tucking the card in a luggage tag! You are always so creative!

    • 12.15.16

      Shauna, thank you so much and thank you for visiting! And, an excuse to shop super cute luggage tags 😉

  19. 12.15.16
    Joanna said:

    You are so honest. To put into words what many feel, allows us to know we are not alone. I like to attach a small gift with my gift cards so there is something for that person to unwrap. These are all great ideas.

    • 12.15.16

      Joanna, I am touched by thoughtfulness and sentiment but have always been unreasonably awkward with gifts! Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by today. Wishing you a very merry Christmas!

  20. 12.15.16

    What great tips Kelly! This makes the everyday gift card so much more personal.

    • 12.16.16

      Lauren, thank you! Yes, just that little bit of extra effort 😉

  21. 12.15.16
    Erin said:

    Kelley LOVE this post! What creative ways to give a gift card! I’m seriously stealing a few of these ideas this year. That pasta basket is too cute! And I’m a huge fan of all things William Sonoma.. even though I don’t like to cook.. ha! Love your blog and love you cutie! Happy holidays. 🙂 xo

    • 12.16.16

      Erin, I am so glad you like them! I’ll be doing the same 😉 Merry Christmas!

  22. 12.15.16

    Oh, I am so guilty of giving gift cards because I just have no idea what would really tickle their fancy! I really need and want to up my game. I really like the idea of the themed gift basket along with the gift card. Thanks for sharing such great ideas! I’m a new follower and have enjoyed getting to know you and your lovely home! Merry Christmas! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

    • 12.16.16

      Kathryn, thank you so much for stopping by! And yes, it is the perfect gift and can definitely be made more thoughtful 😉 Wishing you a very merry Christmas!

  23. 12.16.16
    Haneen said:

    Kelley! I love ALL of these ideas! What great ways to make a gift card extra special!! (Although a gift card to WS could be straight up handed to me not even in an envelope and I’d be happy). Lol!

    • 12.16.16

      Haneen, thank you so much! You are so creative, I know you would make a gift card the most thoughtful gift ever 😉

  24. 12.16.16
    Josselyn said:

    You are too funny…….attempts to avoid opening right away. You speak for many of us!! 🙂 Your ideas are always so beautiful! I am putting together a gift basket for the holiday and like always, you gave me some great ideas. Thanks so much for sharing. I enjoy your site very much. I hope you and your family have a warm, safe and Merry Christmas!

    • 12.16.16

      Josselyn, yes! haha! I love doing baskets (as much as I love doing stockings)- so fun to pull things together in a theme. Thank you for your kind words- wishing you a very merry Christmas!

  25. 12.16.16
    yuni said:

    Kelley, these are all such wonderful ideas! I love them all and your pictures are just gorgeous! And I can totally relate. OMG I about died opening all my gifts at my bridal and baby shower. Like totally sweating! 😀

    • 12.16.16

      Yuni, I can imagine! So glad you are awkward with me! haha

  26. 12.16.16
    Jennifer said:

    This is fabulous Kelley! Such great ideas and your pictures are so helpful (and gorgeous). I love the beautiful basket your created and I need that reindeer towel!

    • 12.19.16

      Jennifer, thank you so much! I am pulling some together this week!

  27. 12.16.16
    Annie said:

    Kelley these were perfect ideas! Each so creative and easy to replicate, I love giving gift cards but never now how to make them unique… and you did! I will definitely be using these~ Gorgeous as always by the way!

    • 12.19.16

      Annie, thank you so much. I have a few left on my list for whom I will be using these ideas 😉

  28. 12.16.16
    Lauren said:

    Girl YES! I do the exact same thing when opening presents. Straight. Up. Awkward. Great ideas!

    • 12.19.16

      Haha, apparently there are a lot of us! United we stand!! 😉

  29. 12.16.16

    Kelly, this was great! Gave me some fun ideas for gift giving !

    • 12.19.16

      Alley, thank you so much! And, they totally go beyond Christmas 😉

  30. 12.16.16
    Mysha said:

    So creative! I love all your presentations

  31. 12.16.16
    Janine said:

    Your posts are always packed with great inspiration! Thanks so much for all the fabulous gift ideas. And yes, gift cards are always the perfect idea for the person who has everything and you don’t know what to buy them.

    • 12.19.16

      Janine, thank you so much. It seems I have more and more of those people on my list each year; so glad you like the ideas!

  32. 12.17.16
    Gretchen Thomas said:

    I love these special ideas! The first is extremely thoughtful, knowing the giver picked out some suggestions I may like! A gift within a gift is always special and the “bundle” gift is fabulous. Your “three degrees of gifting” is brilliant!

    • 12.19.16

      I love that- three degrees of gifting! Thank you so much for stopping by and checking them out. Merry Christmas!

  33. 12.19.16
    Kathy said:

    Love your ideas!! And yes I thought I was only one who didn’t really enjoy opening gifts in front of others!

    • 12.20.16

      Kathy, thank you! You are not alone! haha

  34. 12.21.16

    Kelley these are fabulous tips! Loving the luggage tag idea. 🙂

    • 12.22.16

      Stephanie, thank you so much! Fun way to personalize it, too 😉