Perhaps gift cards aren't the best option as presents since Americans are leaving billions of dollars on their balances..
A report from financial services website Credit Summit found that 90 percent of Americans say they enjoy receiving gift cards but a staggering $21 billion locked inside them have gone unspent. So if people love them so much, why aren't they spending? 
The survey found that, "76 percent have intentionally chosen not to spend a gift card. Some of the reasons cited were to save it for a special occasion (36 percent), waiting until they need something specific from the retailer (23 percent), because it's from a place where they don't normally shop (11 percent), redeeming them is a hassle (4 percent) or just forget them (2 percent)."
Despite the still mounting unused balances, 72 percent of Americans said they will get them as gifts this year as well. 
Meanwhile, considering the state of the economy and rising costs, it could be in many Americans' best interest to take advantage of those funds — at least at some point.
"While it makes sense to not blow them on items you don't need, keep them in a safe place where they're easily accessible. This way, when you need to buy something specific, it's easy to keep track of the cards you have and the balance that remains on them," according to Credit Summit.