Gift cards can make for convenient gifts when you don't know what to get someone. Clark Howard has recommended
cash as a better alternative, but that seems a little cold. Just looking at the numbers, gift cards can have one benefit over cash. That's when you can get gift cards at a discount. There are several ways to avoid paying full price for gift cards, and this My Money Blog post has a good review
of saveral of them. One way not mention is a SmartyPig
account. The SmartyPig savings account makes it easy to convert your savings into discounted gift cards.