I'm one of the few who thinks there's nothing wrong with giving a gift card (especially because I love to get gift cards). If you have some reservations about them being boring gifts, then you may reconsider — Target is introducing gift cards that double as mini digital cameras, while Best Buy will have gift cards that are also speakers!
With such fun stuff built into the gift cards, you may not want to redeem them. These could also cease to take the wind out of people's sales that were expecting more than just a gift card. What do you think of this idea?