Mind you, I've gotten some weird gifts in my time, but it was often a way to connect with the inner being of the giver. "An army shovel? How thoughtful. Oh, you think everyone should carry one in their car?" And now I always carry one, because the person who gave it to me was dead-on correct. "Um, what IS this? Oh, a tea cozy. Okay, I'll bite, what is a tea cozy?" See what I mean? Growth experiences.
What does a gift card say? "I know you eat, so chow down on me." "I know you wear clothes, but I'm not going there, so here's a gift card to let you pick what you like." "I know you read/listen to music, but I haven't the foggiest what you actually like, so here's a card..." Sorry, it's giri.
Like Christmas cards. I remember my mother making out cards to people every year that she had NO idea of who they were, but hey, they sent us a card, so it had to be returned. Of course, I laugh now about her comment "Who the hell is Bunny Yeager? I can't even tell if it's a man or woman! And what sort of name is Bunny, anyway?" (Nowadays, I am more interested in how WE got on Bunny Yeager's Christmas card list. I'm sure it was one of my father's studio connections, but it still doesn't answer any questions.) I wonder how much of that sort of thing still goes on, though, with people sending cards to people they can't identify?
At least with the Japanese concept of giri-choco on Valentine's day, they exchange something consumable. My idea is that if you *have* to give something, rather than giving a gift card, make a charitable contribution in that person's name.