Dining cards, gift cards and holiday bonuses

Posted at 9:02 AM, Dec 15, 2014
and last updated 2015-12-10 08:48:54-05

The clock is ticking for holiday shoppers, so is it time to settle on a gift card? That's what many shoppers are doing and the spending is adding up.

The National Retail Federation says gift card spending will top all previous records this year. Researchers say the average person buying cards will spend nearly $173, up from $163 last year. Total spending on gift cards is expected to top $31.7 billion. That's up 83 percent since 2003. The NRF says gift cards are the most requested gift item eight years in a row.

How about buying a whole deck of gift cards to use at area restaurants? That's the goal at City Dining Cards. They were born in Buffalo five years ago. The company now offers dining cards in 18 cities. Founder Patrick Finan says it's a delicious way to celebrate all things local. A deck of dining cards includes 50 cards, each worth $10 at a local restaurant. This year, some food trucks are included. City Dining Cards also has a drink deck for area bars. For more information on dining cards, click here.

Employers are spreading holiday cheer this year. Eighty-five percent of small business owners plan on rewarding employees this holiday season, up from 62 percent last year. A survey by American Express says the rewards range from bonuses and raises to time off or holiday parties.