I'm facing a dilemma that many of you have probably dealt with.  I asked a family member what she wants for Christmas and she said, "a gift card to Walmart would be great."

It would be for my teenage niece who's doing well in college.  Knowing how responsible she is, I'm sure she'd put the gift card to good use.  She'd probably by something practical for her dorm room, or maybe even some healthy snacks.  (But even if she splurged on something frivilous, that would be fine, of course.)

What I'm wondering though is how to give her what she wants while also making it more personal.  Is there some way you spruce up gift cards so that it feels more special?

By nature I'm a really practical person.  I know how much I've appreciated gift cards over the years.  (Or back in the day when Grandma would write out a check for me.)  These gifts allow the recipient to buy whatever he or she wants or needs.  It's less stress for the giver.  And the gift is guaranteed to be enjoyed.

The risk of buying an actual gift is that she may not like it, may return it, or might just let it sit in a closet unused.  That would be a waste.  So those are more reasons why I love gift cards.

But there's a part of me that's not comfortable with giving just that.  What do you do when someone in your life requests a gift card?