In the past, I've given out gift cards to different places, restaurants, stores, etc. A friend of mine said, "Just give them cash. That's what they want anyway." And "Don't you think it's a little presumptuous of you to assume they like eating at Red Lobster. He's right. Isn't he?
Yes, plus some gift cards charge a fee or can expire. Cash doesn't.
If you know with some certainty that someone likes to patronize a particular place --if, say, they make a joke about how much they spend on books each month at Amazon-- gift cards are fine; otherwise, use cash.
What R2 said.
I know someone who gave $100 Starbucks gift cards to everyone. Some people were elated, but a few of them don't drink coffee or even go to Starbucks. I know a couple if them just re-gifted the gift cards to people who go there.
This year I want cash because I am saving for a Miele vacuum cleaner. I am the OP of the "Pregnant Feral Cat" thread last year. I kept three of the cats and another cat then found us. Now I have 4 cats --- 3 of them are strictly indoors --- and I need a good vacuum cleaner.
I have already dropped the appropriate hints.
"I'm saving for a good pet vacuum but it's going to take me forever. I wish they cost less, but from what I've read, they are worth the money. I sure could use more cash (sigh). "
Yeah, it's uncouth. Whatever. I don't need a $50 iTunes card.
Give MasterCard or Visa gift cards. It'll be easier for you and recipients won't complain "I don't go to that store."
R4 could also use a gift cert to a conveniently located store that sells the brand of pet food they prefer.
You're a saint, R4. Sounds like you're all happy together, & you all deserve it.