I don't like to get people gift cards unless there's something specific I know they want or need and that something would be better chosen by the recipient.
This year I got my sister-in-law a UFab gift card to purchase fabric for reupholstering her dining room chairs - how would I choose an appropriate fabric for her home and her taste? One year for Nate's birthday (or maybe it was a random gift of congratulations? who knows) I got him a gift card to a clothing store because he lost a bunch of weight and none of his clothes fit him - but I don't want to pick out someone else's clothes. Unless it's Dave because he lets me dress him still.
Anyway, other than specific circumstances like that, I like to find gifts that just call out to me as perfect for certain people. Sometimes I think about it beforehand and have a vague idea of what to look for, and people sometimes make hints that make that easier. Other times I just see something that yells TAKE ME HOME.
Here is an example of the yelling kind:
One of Dave's friends from work is a very talented balloon artist - she travels all around to parties and local events and makes balloon animals for the kiddos. When I saw this balloon animal ornament in Target I just had to get it for her!
Check out her site! Merry Christmas Debs! :)