Once upon a time, holiday shopping was easy. Since everyone's needs were more basic, you could get away with just finding a really good flint or maybe a nicely-shaped potato. In Victorian England, an orange was the height of tasteful gift-giving, or if you could come to the door with a goose, you'd been in your host's good books forever.

That was then. These days, it's not so much that our expectations are higher: they're just different. In an age where children thrill to images of Pokemon and moral wizards; where communication is only complicated by which button to push this time and where "entertainment" can mean anything from a walk with a loved one to purchasing a video to watching the latest thriller at your local megaplex, it's more difficult to get by with the gift of fruit.

It's this wide range of interests and possibilities that make books such a good choice for holiday gift giving. The variable interests are infinitely reflected in the books that are available. Whether your giftee's interests run to classic literature or raising alpacas, the right book is out there. Somewhere. Here are a few of our picks for the last holiday of the millennium. That is, if you don't have your heart set on that alpaca book.