In the end, no one knows better what your recipients want that the recipients themselves. And while gift cards might seem awkward or unoriginal, they can also be incredibly practical. A friend who enjoys their usual at Starbucks every day is going to appreciate if even just one drink is on you. At Whole Foods, gift cards with food puns like "thyme to celebrate" and "hugs and quiches" won't just make someone smile but they are sure to get used up, since everyone needs groceries at some point. (Plus, for every gift card purchased online this month, Whole Foods is donating $1 to the No Kid Hungry Campaign). Just stay away from cards that are confusing for cashiers or have monthly maintenance fees, like those shady Visa gift cards.
To be a little more original about it, all you have to do is stick the gift card in a little handmade card or envelope. The added value of something cute and handmade makes the gift a great one no matter what value you put on the gift card.
Here is a little photo tutorial for an origami envelope. I used a standard 15 cm (about 5.9 in.) origami paper square, but anything about 5 inches or greater will hold a standard gift card.