Santa's bringing a gas gift card this year - oh joy of the season!

Imagine it's Christmas morning. You rush downstairs and first check your Christmas stocking to see what Santa put inside -- a gasoline gift card. Surprise! Merry Christmas!

In what is now an ongoing joke in my household, I buy my wife a $10 Christmas gift card at one of the finer stores in town: Longs, Safeway, McDonald's or Burger King. I see practicality, she sees a cheapskate. Now, with the economy in a recession, it looks like more people are coming around to the practical view, despite the lack of Christmas morning excitement they produce.

This holiday season, more gift card recipients plan to use them for necessities and not on luxuries, according to a new study released by Bankrate, Inc.