Here's something the U.S. government may not have considered when it stopped offering paper savings bonds and started conducting all transactions through the TreasuryDirect website: the challenge of giving savings bonds as a gift. Whereas people were once simply able to walk into their local bank to buy savings bonds, they must now go through a more challenging process that involves setting up multiple accounts online (one of yourself, and one for each recipient). If you're among those who have become frustrated by this change, read USA Today's December 12 article titled, "Savings Bonds no Longer an Easy Gift." The author of the article purchased savings bonds for her two nieces, and the process took 45 minutes. Given that savings bonds are paying next to nothing, consumers may end up looking elsewhere for gift ideas this holiday season.