I'm a fan of registries and wishlists. I can't, however, ever buy just a "thing off the list." You see, I have a deep, twitchy-type anal need to give something unique.
When my friends asked for a french fry cutter (coolest thing ever, btw), I couldn't help but package it with a couple of potatoes. (Bad idea, as it turns out, because they didn't get to their gifts until after the honeymoon and the potatoes were... let's just say "not good" anymore.)
(Though really, who waits until after the honeymoon with the gifts?! Not me.)
Another friend wanted coffe mugs and got some Starbucks vanilla syrup (her favorite) with it. (And had I been a bit more on the ball, I would have added some coffee, too.)
I may very well show up at a babyshower with a baby tub filled with hooded towels, washcloths, squirty rubber duckies and bath bubbles.
Point is, I am a basketcase.
For Christmas, you could fill a basket with a movie rental coupon, some popcorn, a few bottles of cream soda, and some milk duds or junior mints.
For a knitter, fill a basket with yarn, a set of sock needles, and a sock pattern book.
How about a basket of tea stuff (different teas, a tea ball, a pretty mug and saucer), or breakfasty things (pancake mix, some fancy syrup, and heart pancake shapers)?
An "instant family game night"?
All the materials for a kiddie craft project?
I could go on and on. I just love basket-gifts.