I have highly detailed opinions on a lot of things. Most things probably. Here is one about presents.

The ideal present is one that:
1) has a use or practical purpose, but is something someone is unlikely to purchase for themselves. (This can also include helping someone ‘level up’ something they are purchasing/planning on purchasing.)
2) experiential
3) consumables

1) A new backpack, when you have a less than ideal one that still works. A solid chef’s knife. A nice bag/business card case/etc for the new grad.
2) cooking classes, amusement park trip, babysitting.
3) ice cream, pie, fruit, special honey or maple syrup, home made root beer.

One thing to make this easier is to listen to what people say. These are words of wisdom from my dad, and I’ve heard it from other people as well. If your friend makes an off handed comment about how they have bad bike lights, file that away and know you can get them a cool bike light and that it will be appreciated.

It’s more work than wish lists, but more fun for me anyway.