holiday gift cardsSometimes holiday shopping for your brother's "girlfriend" or the boss you don't exactly get along with can be a tad bit difficult. Trust me, I know how it is. You want to buy them something they'll like and use, but you haven't the slightest clue what's appropriate or how much you should be spending.

That's why the restaurant gift card is such a brilliant gift idea. Really, who doesn't love a few good eats, right? What makes this option even better this year is that loads of restaurant chains across the country are offering great incentives and specials just for purchasing a gift card during the holiday season. Take Ruby Tuesday, for example, which is giving out a free $15 dining gift certificate for every $50 gift card purchased this month. This means that not only do you get to cross someone off your shopping list, but you also get to snag a free meal in the process. I'm sold!

Check out these 20 great holiday gift card deals at restaurants nationwide:

1. Panda Express
Get a free two-item combo for every $25 gift card purchased in stores. 

2. Jamba Juice
Sip on a free smoothie when you buy a $25 gift card now through January 3, 2012.

3. Subway
Get a free 6-inch sub on the spot with every $25 Subway card purchase in stores.

4. Taco Bell
Get a free chicken flatbread sandwich combo when you buy a $20 gift card.

5. Boston Market
Snag a $5 bonus card, valid through January 31, 2012, for every $25 gift card purchased.

6. California Pizza Kitchen
Get a $20 bonus card valid January 3 through March 6, 2012 when you purchase $100 in gift cards.

7. The Cheesecake Factory
Spend $25 on gift cards and receive a "Slice of Joy Card," redeemable for a free piece of cheesecake in stores between December 26 and March 31, 2012.

8. Chipotle
Buy $30 worth of Chipotle gift cards in stores, and receive a free burrito bowl, salad, order of tacos, or burrito on your next visit now through December 31.

9. Carl's Jr.
Buy a $20 gift card and get a free coupon for their Six Dollar Burger

10. IHOP
Get $5 off your next visit when you purchase a $25 gift card until January 31, 2012.

11. Hardee's
Buy a $20 gift card, and get a free Quarter-pound Little Thickburger.

12. Outback Steakhouse
Snag a $20 bonus card, valid January 1 through February 10, 2012, when you buy $100 or more in gift cards.

13. Ruby Tuesday
Spend $50 on gift cards and get a $15 bonus coupon until December 31.

14. Long John Silver's
Buy a $20 gift card or more, and receive a free piece of whitefish fillet.

15. Morton's Steakhouse
Get a $50 gift card when you buy $300 worth of gift cards for family and friends. Are you a big spender? Drop $500 on Morton's gift cards, and receive a free $100 reward card now through December 24.

16. Red Robin
Get a $5 bonus bucks card when you purchase a gift card between $25 and $45.

17. Macaroni Grill
Get a $5 bonus card, valid January 2 through February 29, 2012, when you purchase $25 in gift cards.

18. Hooters
Spend $25 on a gift card; get a $5 bonus card. Throw down for a $50 card; get a $10 bonus card valid from January 2 through February 29, 2012.

19. Houlihan's
Buy $50 in gift cards and receive a $10 dining certificate valid January 1 through February 29, 2012.

20. Rita's
This may be the sweetest of 'em all! Buy $10 in gift cards, and get a regular-size Italian ice, Gelati, Blendini, Misto, or frozen custard. Delish!

What are you buying your friends and family for the holidays? Have you snagged any of these great deals?

 

Image via shimelle/Flickr