Is a gift card really appreciated as much as you think when you give one to someone for Christmas? Actually most people would rather receive an actual gift.

According to a new national Bankrate survey, only 27 percent of people would prefer a gift card over an actual gift. That means two thirds of your friends and acquaintances would prefer a present over a card.

But here's the real catch to all of this. If you are getting someone a gift card, don't just grab one that looks good on the rack at the grocery store checkout. No, to do it right, you must do a little research, or you may be annoying the recipient instead of making them happy.

First of all, make sure the gift card you are giving can be redeemed without having to add cash to it. For example, don't give a $50 gift card for a store where everything is $80. Making someone spend cash they maybe don't have is not a good present.

Also, and most importantly, find out what the person you are getting the gift card for, really likes. Give them a card they will love you for. For example, if they're into playing baseball, a card for Dick's Sporting Goods would be good.

If you are getting someone a gift card that is a wine lover, a card for Hy-Vee Wine and Spirits would be excellent. Do a little research to find out what they like, where they shop, where they eat and so on.

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