The Difficult Gift
Holiday shopping is enjoyed by many, tolerated by others, and is feared by some. If your family or other 'gifting circle' draws names, it reduces the size of the list, but when you are stuck with a not-too-close a relation, say, a niece's husband (a nephew-in-law?) that you've only met about four times and you really haven't a clue as to what he may enjoy- well then, aren't you in a fine pickle. Clothes? You probably already have enough clothes in your closet that were gifts, that you just can't bring yourself to wear. Booze? How vulgar. And is he/she a casual drinker, or a raging alky? Better not, just to be safe. Of course there is the ultimate disconnect- "A gift has been made in your name to the (fill in charity name)..." The added benefit to that ploy is that then the recipient is on their mailing list, along with a few dozen others- "The gift that keeps on giving." Once in a while I used to get the name of a pubescent female relation, but any ideas I would have ("oh wouldn't little missy look great in that gold lame blouse?") would quickly get vetoed by a more rational family member.
But this year: a brainstorm. Why not just give a copy of the best book you have read in the previous year? If he/she doesn't like it, that only shows their lack of taste, not yours.