Financial gifts can be a valuable – and fun – choice for the holidays

November 15, 2021

In a year when many will be skipping in-person shopping, gifts like money and gift cards may take on a new meaning.


There’s no way around it – the holidays will likely feel different to many of us this year. Though travel or seeing family or friends may not be possible, you’ll still want to show those close to you that you care. Financial gifts have several perks – they’re convenient for the gift-giver and allow the gift recipient to spend the money on something they really want. Here are several options to explore, plus fun and creative ways to make your gift extra special.


Gift cards

You may want to think twice about giving a crisp bill straight from the bank this year. Since so many merchants have moved to contactless payments during the pandemic, it can be hard to spend cash. Not to mention the coin shortage!

However, there are other ways to give money directly. Visa® and Mastercard®-branded gift cards are a smart and safe payment alternative during COVID-19. Similar to cash, these gift cards are not specific to any merchant so you can spend them anywhere these are accepted. For ultimate convenience, purchase a U.S. Bank Visa Gift Card at your local U.S. Bank branch. These cards can be loaded with any amount between $25 and $500, and they can be replaced if lost or stolen if the card number is available.

If you want to get a little more personalized, gift cards to a restaurant, store or fun activity are another great option. These cards are perfect for people looking for an experience instead of an object. You can also purchase gift cards for music, clothing or technology – often starting at $5. This gesture shows you’re thinking of what the person receiving the gift would really enjoy, and it encourages them to spend money on something they might not otherwise splurge on. This is also a great way to support local businesses that may be struggling due to COVID-19. Research restaurants and shops in the recipient’s local area, then purchase a gift card online. These can usually be sent electronically or in the mail.

Once you’ve made your list of gift recipients and have your gift cards, make your gift extra special by using supplies like markers, stickers and ribbon to decorate your gifts.


Stocks and savings bonds

Investments are a great gift idea as well. These include stocks and savings bonds, which typically appreciate in value over time.

Savings bonds are a good option for kids of all ages. They’re designed to grow gradually over time, and can’t be touched for at least twelve months – although there’s an incentive to wait to redeem the cash until years later. This is a wonderful way to help support a child’s future, knowing they can use the money when the right time comes.

Savings bonds are a bit tricky to give in-person as it’s hard to get a physical bond copy in the U.S. To get one, you would need to buy it with your income tax refund. However, if you’re feeling creative, you can still make the exchange special by recording a video of yourself for the recipient with a personal message.

Stocks can also be a unique gift for people of all ages. Do your research and find an affordable stock that may have special meaning to the giftee (i.e. a music-industry related stock for a music-lover). This can be especially fun for savvy teenagers and young adults who may want to learn how to invest. Even if you only purchase a few pieces of stock, you can always buy more for future holidays/birthday to grow the recipient’s portfolio. If you choose this option, be sure to budget for the purchase fees in advance when you’re planning out your gifting.


Charitable donations

Making a charitable donation in a recipient’s name is a thoughtful gift that also help others. With so many wonderful organizations to choose from, you can select one that means something special to you, or that you know the recipient feels close to. This year, you may want to consider choosing causes supporting COVID-19 relief. Organizations providing COVID-19 medical services, supplies and local funding can be found through Charity Navigator.

Once you’ve selected an organization, take the extra step to do some research and confirm the legitimacy to avoid a scam. You can check out the IRS’ Tax Exempt Organization Search to make sure the organization is tax-exempt.

To make this gift extra meaningful, write a letter to your gift recipient letting them know why you chose the specific charity, what it means to you and why you think they’ll be happy to support the cause too. You can even send photos from the organization’s website showing the positive work they’re doing, so that your gift recipient can see exactly how the funds will help.

Do you know someone who would like a gift card this year? Learn more about the U.S. Bank Visa Gift card.


If you’re looking for ways to support your local businesses this holiday season, here are some ways to give along with helping out your community.

Related content

Practical money skills and financial tips for college students

6 questions students should ask about checking accounts

How can I help my student manage money?

Adulting 101: How to make a budget plan

Webinar: Smart habits and behaviors to achieve financial wellness

Dear Money Mentor: How do I pick a savings or checking account?

What I learned from my mom about money

Preparing for adoption and IVF

Personal finance for teens can empower your child

The A to Z’s of college loan terms

House Hacks: How buying an investment property worked as my first home

What is Medicare? Understanding your coverage options

Using 529 plans for K-12 tuition

LGBTQ+ retirement planning: What you need to know

How to track your spending patterns

How to talk about money with your family

Financial steps to take after the death of a spouse

Finance or operating lease? Deciphering the legalese of equipment finance

Take the stress out of buying your teen a car

It's possible: 7 tips for breaking the spending cycle

College budgeting: When to save and splurge

Are professional movers worth the cost?

Personal loans first-timer's guide: 7 questions to ask

Be careful when taking out student loans

How to expand your business: Does a new location make sense?

5 reasons why couples may have separate bank accounts

You can take these 18 budgeting tips straight to the bank

The secret to successful service provider integration

How to Adult: 5 ways to track your spending

How to choose the right business checking account

How to manage money in the military: A veteran weighs in

Family planning for the LGBTQ+ community

How I did it: Turned my side hustle into a full-time job

Practical money tips we've learned from our dads

Beyond the mortgage: Other costs for homeowners

4 ways to free up your budget (and your life) with a smaller home

Certificates of deposit: How they work to grow your money

How I did it: Paid off student loans

Do you and your fiancé have compatible financial goals?

How to plan and save for adoption and in vitro fertility treatment costs

Is it time to get a shared bank account with your partner?

Financial checklist: Preparing for military deployment

5 tips for creating (and sticking to) a holiday budget

How compound interest works

Tips for working in the gig economy

How to decide when to shop local and when to shop online

How to build wealth at any age

Your 4-step guide to financial planning

Which is better: Combining bank accounts before marriage — or after?

10 ways to increase your home’s curb appeal

First-timer’s guide to savings account alternatives

Common pitfalls to avoid in the equipment financing process

Meet your business credit card support team

Webinar: ESG for Corporations: Building an all-weather, long-lasting strategy

Multigenerational household financial planning strategies

9 simple ways to save

Good money habits: 6 common money mistakes to avoid

6 tips for trust fund distribution to beneficiaries

3 types of insurance you shouldn’t ignore

Here’s how to create a budget for yourself

Unexpected cost savings may be hiding in your payment strategy

Lost job finance tips: What to do when you lose your job

Do your investments match your financial goals?

A beginner's guide to investing

Growing your savings by going on a ‘money hunt’

Key components of a financial plan

A who’s who at your local bank

What you need to know about renting

What financial advice would you give your younger self?

Travel for less: Smart (not cheap) ways to spend less on your next trip

Tips to raise financially healthy kids at every age

The mobile app to download before summer vacation

Consolidating debts: Pros and cons to keep in mind

How to manage your money when you're self-employed

Is a Health Savings Account missing from your retirement plan?

7 things to know about long-term care insurance

How to open and invest in a 529 plan

How grandparents can contribute to college funds instead of buying gifts

7 financial questions to consider when changing jobs

Retirement planning in the gig economy

Key milestone ages as you near and start retirement

5 tips for parents opening a bank account for kids

Annual insurance review checklist

Do I need a financial advisor?

Retirement income planning: 4 steps to take

How to protect your digital assets in your estate plan

Webinar: Mindset Matters: How to practice mindful spending

3 awkward situations Zelle can help avoid

Car shopping: Buying versus leasing your next vehicle

Should you buy a house that’s still under construction?

Tips for navigating a medical hardship when you’re unable to work

What’s in your emergency fund?

Resources for managing financial matters after an unexpected death

Don’t underestimate the importance of balancing your checking account

How to gain financial independence from your parents

Should you buy now, pay later?

Bank from home with these digital features

How to increase your savings

4 tips to help you save for retirement in your 20s

Money Moments: How to manage your finances after a divorce

Helpful tips for safe and smart charitable giving

Talent acquisition 101: Building a small business dream team

Can fantasy football make you a better investor?

Money Moments: 8 dos and don’ts for saving money in your 30s

3 ways to keep costs down at the grocery store (and make meal planning fun)

5 unexpected retirement expenses

How to retire happy

Working after retirement: Factors to consider

6 pandemic money habits to keep for the long term

Year-end financial checklist

LGBTQ+ financial planning: 7 reasons why it matters

4 steps to finding a charity to support

7 ways for pre-retirees to get ready for retirement

Insource or outsource? 10 considerations

From LLC to S-corp: Choosing a small business entity

What you should know about buying a car

5 things to consider when deciding to take an unplanned trip

Your financial aid guide: What are your options?

How to get started creating your business plan

How having savings gives you peace of mind

8 steps to choosing a health insurance plan

Make your business legit

4 reasons estate planning is important

Reviewing your beneficiaries: A 5-step guide

Dear Money Mentor: How do I set and track financial goals?

I own two electric vehicles. Here’s what I’ve learned about buying and driving EVs.

5 things to avoid that can devalue your home

5 financial goals for the new year

Allowance basics for parents and kids

Estate planning documents: Living trusts vs. will vs. living will

Good debt vs. bad debt: Know the difference

Investment strategies by age

Military homeownership: Your guide to resources, financing and more

Working with an accountability partner can help you reach your goals

30-day adulting challenge: Financial wellness tasks to complete in a month

The connection between your health and financial well-being

Friction: How it can help achieve money goals

Your guide to breaking the rental cycle

How to use your unexpected windfall to reach financial goals

Money management guide to financial independence

Buying or leasing? Questions to ask before signing a contract

Home buying myths: Realities of owning a home

What military service taught me about money management

Improving your credit score: Truth and myths revealed

5 steps to take before transitioning your business

7 year-end tax planning tips

Should I itemize my taxes?

How to best handle unexpected expenses

Financial gifts can be a valuable – and fun – choice for the holidays

Stay on budget — and on the go — with a mobile banking app

U.S. Bank asks: Transitioning out of college life? What’s next?

For today's homebuyers, time and money are everything

Understanding guardianship and power of attorney in banking

How to use debt to build wealth

Transitioning from the military to the civilian workforce

How to winterize your vehicle

How I did it: Deciding whether to buy an RV

How I kicked my online shopping habit and got my spending under control

How I did it: Bought a home without a 20 percent down payment

Multiple accounts can make it easier to follow a monthly budget

How I did it: Learned to budget as a single mom

How to stop living paycheck to paycheck post-pay increase

Money Moments: Tips for selling your home

Parent checklist: Preparing for college

How to establish your business credit score

Checklist: 10 questions to ask your home inspector

Webinar: 5 myths about emergency funds

Webinar: Common budget mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Webinar: Train your brain for smart financial habits

7 steps: How couples and single parents can prepare for child care costs

How to save for a wedding

How to save money while helping the environment

Money Moments: 3 smart financial strategies when caring for aging parents

Save time and money with automatic bill pay

Tips to overcome three common savings hurdles

Webinar: Uncover the cost: Wedding

Webinar: Uncover the cost: International trip

U.S. Bank asks: Do you know what an overdraft is?

U.S. Bank asks: Do you know your finances?

Essential financial resources and protections for military families

Spring cleaning checklist for your home: 5 budget-boosting tasks

Webinar: Uncover the cost: Building a home

10 questions to ask when hiring a contractor

Webinar: Uncover the cost: Home renovation

11 essential things to do before baby comes

Webinar: Uncover the cost: Starting a family

Closing on a house checklist for buyers

What you need to know as the executor of an estate

What documents do you need after a loved one dies?

How to prepare for a natural disaster

Student checklist: Preparing for college

Webinar: Uncover the cost: College diploma

How to save money in college: easy ways to spend less

Webinar: Bank Notes: College cost comparison

7 steps to keep your personal and business finances separate

U.S. Bank asks: What do you know about credit?

How to apply for federal student aid through the FAFSA

Crypto + Homebuying: Impacts on the real estate market

Questions to ask before buying a car

7 tips to help grow your business after launch

How to test new business ideas

Costs to consider when starting a business

How to redefine challenges with business collaboration

How to sell your business without emotions getting in the way

10 tips on how to run a successful family business

The costs of hiring a new employee

Break free from cash flow management constraints

How to build a content team

Safeguarding the payment experience through contactless

ABCs of ARP: Answers to American Rescue Plan questions for counties

COVID-19 safety recommendations: Are you ready to reopen?

Start of disclosure content

Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rate and program terms are subject to change without notice. Mortgage, home equity and credit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Deposit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC.