It has been several years since my gifts for friends or family have been purchased new. For the most part, I stick with homemade or thrift store purchases. Here are some purchases I made for my MIL recently.
There is a new Bibles for Missions thrift store in the town where my Mom lives. I picked up this teacup and saucer for my MIL at the store. My MIL has tons of teacups and saucers but she loves them and it is a rare instance of us sharing tastes so it is easy for me to buy them for her. I try to buy unique pieces for her collection.
My MIL also collects milk glass. I am not as avid about milk glass as she is but it is one other area where our interests overlap. In fact, in the past I've picked up a few pieces for her that I ended up keeping because I liked them so much. I try to find unique pieces for this collection too. I really liked the shape of this vase.
And of course, a person who collects needs a way to show off the pieces. I found this teacup and saucer display for two bucks at Goodwill.
There is only one drawback to this arrangement. She lives in SoCal and so shipping is a bear (I often spend many times what I paid or spent for an item on the shipping of said item). However, if I ship out through the year as I find and make things, it at least cushions the cost. I wrap everything I send as a Christmas gift before I ship it and keep track of what I send. In addition, this year I am adding little notes to the gifts explaining why I bought them or what I was thinking.
A side note the box that I shipped the hanger in is one that has been back and forth to CA numerous times. Every so often you find a good shipping box - I often think I should put a tally on the inside of the box and keep track for a record!! :)