Is a Giftcard a good gift??

So here we are. Just 2 weeks till Christmas and like most of us, I don't have all of my gifts bought. This should come as no surprise to most of us in this day and age. We often find ourselves in this very situation almost every year during the holidays.  So we arrive at the Gift card...today's standby gift for the ages. 

Not to sound like an "Old Fuddy-Duddy"...but I remember when buying Christmas gifts meant that you had to do things different. The entire reason for the gift was that you knew the person we'll enough to buy them something that they would enjoy without ever expecting anything in return.  

When I was young, I bought my family gifts that ranged from Candy to clothing to toys and even some "Gag Gifts" for fun. It was great!  The look on their faces when they opened up the gift from me was all I ever wanted. 

So today as I stand at my local grocery store, buying gift cards to the local electronic store and even some online stores, I wonder if I could do better?

Most people are hard to shop for and that is what makes giving gifts fun. It is a challenge to find the right gift and a challenge to get the gift to them if they are not close.  

So what are some alternatives to the gift card?  

Love to hear your feedback!