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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

24 Gift Cards People Actually Want for the Holidays

Not sure what to get the hard-to-please person on your holiday shopping list? Don't worry, we rounded up the most versatile and crowd-pleasing gift cards people actually want.

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Land's EndVia

For the bundled-up bunch

Lands End is known for their cozy winter wear and trend-resistant essentials for the whole family, which is why just about anyone on your list is sure to buy something they love, be it a scarf or a sweater, with one of their gift cards.

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AMC giftcardVia

For the movie buff

If the person on your list loves seeing movies on the big screen, an AMC Theaters gift card is an excellent choice. They can use the card for movie tickets and snacks, popcorn, and other concessions stand goodies.

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For the ice cream lover

They’ll love a gift card to Cold Stone Creamery, which can make for a fun solo snack, family-friendly outing, or fun, impromptu date night for two. The chain is known for customizable frozen treats, but gift cards can also be used on their famous ice cream cakes and take-out creations.

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Finish LineVia

For the athlete

If you know a runner in your life who’s looking for new sneakers, but you don’t want to invest in the wrong size, color, or style, a gift card to Finish Line is the perfect token of your affection. They offer men’s, women’s, and children’s styles to suit a wide range of needs and tastes. Check out these other gift ideas for the fitness lovers in your life.

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Hotels gift cardVia

For the avid traveler

You can easily gift someone the chance to get away, pad their honeymoon expenses, or help a budding entrepreneur get his or her show on the road a little more easily with a gift card. It can be used to book a variety of hotels around the world, and it certainly won’t be left collecting dust.

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Apple GiftcardVia

For the iPhone addict

This one is nearly guaranteed to please any teen with an iPhone on your list, but it’s also great for just about any other Apple user you know. An iTunes gift card can be used for app downloads, music selections, and even subscriptions to services.

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Ihop GiftcardVia

For the sweetest person on your list

If they’re known for their sweet personality, it only makes sense to reward them with the very-delicious gift of hot coffee and pancakes. Yes, believe it or not, you can buy IHOP gift cards online, and they’re bound to be a success with early-risers, students pulling all-nighters, and just about anyone with a sweet tooth (although they’re known for their burgers now, too).

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JC Penny GiftcardVia

For the practical shopper

If they’re known to love thoughtful, practical gifts like homewares, kitchen gadgets, and easy-to-wear fashions, a JCPenney gift card will win them over.

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For the budding fashionista

If she’s like a magnet to all things sparkly, unicorn-laden, and absolutely adorable for girls and tweens, a Justice gift card will make her grin from ear to ear. She can scoop up hair accessories, new dresses, fun leggings, and more either in-store or online.

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Krispy KremeVia

For the snack lover

If you didn’t already know doughnuts were trending, let this be the cost-effective news that solves your Secret Santa and budget-minded gifting woes. A Krispy Kreme gift card makes an ideal offering for just about anyone hankering for a hot cup of Joe and a sweet treat.

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For the romantic couple

The couple on your list will love a gift card to McCormick & Schmick’s, a chain known for their upscale seafood and steaks. They can use your generous gift for a romantic dinner date, and if you’re a real sport, you’ll babysit the kids for their night out.

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For the lunch lover

A gift card to Panera Bread is especially useful for workplace colleagues known to rush out for a lunchtime salad, sandwich, cup of soup, or just about any other hearty-yet-healthy staple of midday eating. Panera Bread is known for their extensive (and mouth-watering) bakery selections, but also their very diet-friendly salad offerings that are sure to please just about anyone. Here are more perfect Secret Santa gift ideas that everyone will love.

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Sur La TableVia

For the home chef

Sur La Table is the ultimate source of home chef inspiration with everything from appliances and gadgets to decorative dishware constantly on display. It’s not your average kitchen shopping spot, either, because the high-end merchant also sells gorgeous table linens and placements, flatware, and artistic coffee mugs that are worthy of Instagramming.

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The Container StoreVia

For the ultimate organizer

If he or she is the tidiest person you know (or the opposite), they’re sure to make great use of a gift card to The Container Store. They can load up on nifty clear shoe boxes for storage that lacks confusion, high-quality hangers, closet doo-dads, and organization hacks for just about every other corner of life and home.

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For the beauty queen

If she loves a bold new eyeliner, classic nail polish, very-necessary face wash, or just about anything else she might store in a medicine cabinet, she’ll go wild for an Ulta Beauty gift card. She can use it to stock up on exclusives from It Cosmetics, hard-to-find face creams, ultra-nourishing curl conditioners, and all the basics like nail files, wide-tooth combs, and more. To make it even more special, pair it with one of these easy DIY Christmas presents.

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Whole FoodsVia

For the health nut

Good health is something we can all stand behind, and helping someone achieve their clean-eating goals is a gift that deserves true-admiration. A gift card to Whole Foods will help that special someone in your life stock up on deliciously positive eating options like organic fruits and vegetables, locally-sourced dairy, and their fresh-made salad bar.

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Yankee CandleVia

For the aromatherapy fanatic

If they’re into home fragrance, DIY spa nights, or just the comforting glow of a high-quality candle, they’ll love you for a lifetime when you give them a Yankee Candle gift card. It can be used on everything from seasonal favorites with heart-warming spice notes to classic scents of fresh starts and clean linens. Check out these personalized gifts that go the extra mile.

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For the one with lasagna lust

Someone on your list is bound to be a lover of hearty Italian specialties, and for this person, the token of a Maggiano’s gift card will be especially welcome. They can share a giant serving of lasagna or other delicious pasta recipes with a friend, loved one, or you. (We’re hoping it’s you.)

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For the race car driver wannabe

If their adrenaline gets going when the speed picks up, they’ll thank you profusely for a NASCAR Experience gift card. It lets them touch, see, smell, and truly ride along for the real NASCAR experience, available in several major metropolitan areas.

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Omaha SteakVia

For the grill boss

Nothing says “you’re special to me” quite like the gift of steaks and sides, right? We’re convinced a gift card to this mail-order meat and sides company is the perfect year-round gift for the foodie on your list. Check out these 30 gifts for men that will make you look like a hero.

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QVC GiftcardVia

For the wants-everything woman

If she falls in love with all the crazy-cool gadgets and beauty gear she sees on QVC, she’ll love a gift card to purchase whatever fits her latest whim. She can load up on truly unique fitness gear, kitchen wares that are sure to streamline her cooking experience, and flattering outfits that stand up to machine washing and real life. We can also help you find the perfect best friend gift for every type of friend.

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For the always-on-the-go friend

A Starbucks gift card might just be the most practical gift card on our list, because sure, it can be used for those much-needed morning caffeine boosts, but it’s also a great way to keep your friends powered with afternoon snacks and weekend specialty coffee moments.

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JoAnn FabricVia

For the crafter

A gift card to Jo-Ann stores could be used on a near-endless variety of fabric choices, but it’s also a passport to super-fun crafting ideas for the whole family. Everything from stamp art to faux flowers can be found at this crafter’s paradise, and a gift card is sure to spark loads of creativity.

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Amazon GiftcardVia

For the truly-hard-to-figure-out

You can use this Amazon gift card for the wild card on your list, like a Secret Santa or the cousin you haven’t seen in forever. It can be used for just about anything—whether they’re into fishing rods or face masks. Plus, you can point them to the things you can purchase on Amazon for under a dollar so they can really make the most of your gesture. Here are even more Christmas gift ideas for people who are impossible to shop for.

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Reader’s Digest editors, who aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we may get a small share of revenue from our partners, such as Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We welcome your feedback. Have something you think we should know about? Email us at [email protected].

Bryce Gruber
As Home Editor, Bryce Gruber is an expert in gift ideas, shopping, and e-commerce at Reader's Digest. You've likely seen her work across a variety of women's lifestyle and parenting outlets and on TV shows. She lives and works in New York's Hudson Valley with her five small children.