I don't know that I could find a way to classify gift-giving of any sort as a responsibility — moral or otherwise. The very non-necessity of it is one of gift-giving's defining characteristics. But I think I can find room for book-giving as a moral imperative: some things are simply too important — too absolutely necessary — to leave up to random chance and generosity.
This Christmas, I already cannot remember some of the gifts I've purchased for friends and relatives. However, I can easily list the books I'm giving. Here's a selection:
- Lord of the Flies, by William Golding (Everyone should read this at least twice.)
- Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, by Douglas Wilson (This, too: it'll show you why modern — circa 1900 and following — subject-oriented education produces so many people with an incapacity for interdisciplinary synthesis.)
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Louis Carroll (This one thrice, at a minimum!)
- The Random House Book of Poetry for Children, by Jack Prelutsky
and even a Sony Reader, which has got to be the best thing since Project Gutenberg. (I don't know if you've gotten to see on yet, but it's the most phenomenally paper-like display available — being paper . . .)