Sure, we at Consumerist may try to steer people away from gift cards, but they remain the most popular holiday gift. But where did they come from? How did the gift card evolve from its less versatile ancestor, the gift certificate? The Big Money has a retrospective.
The first magnetic-stripe gift cards were issued by Mobil for gasoline purchases, and the first retail counter gift cards came from Blockbuster Video. Oh, and there are people who collect gift cards, which should come as a surprise to no one.
A Brief History of the Gift Card [The Big Money]