I love gift certificates from my favorite online retail establishments. It’s one of the few places or occasions when I find I have a credit balance. You may think that a gift certificate is restrictive… that there’s more freedom in cold, hard cash. If you take a hard line, emotion free view of life and gift giving, this is true. Yet when I pull up iTunes or eReader.com and see my credit balance displayed like a glowing beacon of hope in the corner of my screen, I get a little misty-eyed. It is one of the most liberating experiences in my mostly sheltered life.