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Best Christmas Gifts of 2012: Is It Just Gift Cards?

Six in 10 Americans say they'd love to receive a gift card for Christmas. What do you think? Great gift or easy way out?

Have you spent hours looking for that perfect gift for that special someone? 

If so, you might be wasting your time.

According to the National Retail Federation, requests for gift cards to stores such as Target, Best Buy, Walmart and Kohl's are up this holiday season.

"When it comes to holiday wish lists, the usual culprits top the list each year: clothing, books, DVDs, video games, and electronics, but there’s one that stands out more than any other – gift cards," the NRF's annual holiday shopping forecast says.

According to the survey, six in 10 (59.8%) of those polled say they’d like to receive gift cards this year, up from 57.7 percent last year and the most in the survey’s history.

Locally, Hazelwood residents go both ways. Holiday shopping is a big time of the year at St. Louis Outlet Mall. Still some prefer to allow family and friends to choose their own gifts.

"Gift cards are great if you really have no idea what to get someone, but they have their place," said Barbara Ann Ross.

Ross said in today's economy, sometimes people prefer giftcards with a purpose rather than one for a toy store, movie theater or for entertainment purposes.

"So many folks are going without a lot these days, so gift cards help with groceries, school clothes and shoes and even school supplies," she said.

What about you? Are gift cards great gifts? Or do they dampen the spirit of gift giving?

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