As someone that has a difficult time picking out gifts for myself (I'm even worse at telling others what to get me), it may come as little surprise that cash or gift cards are preferred due to their flexibility. Of course, there are lots of people that refuse to give such gifts because there's no "thought" put into it. With nothing tangible on my wish list, what often happens is that I end up getting random things that, while thoughtful, usually go unused.
One potential way of handling "traditional" gift-givers is to request a subscription to a service you've been eyeballing or perhaps already pay for yourself. Premium subscriptions to services like Netflix, Hulu or Spotify immediately come to mind but if you're looking to try something a bit different (and happen to have a passion for electronics), a Kickstarter campaign for Thimble may be worth looking into.
The concept behind Thimble is simple. Each month (assuming you sign up for the subscription), the company will ship over a small electronics kit that includes (nearly) everything you'll need to build each project as well as step-by-step instructions. Tools like a soldering iron aren't included.
The first monthly kit allows recipients to build a Wi-Fi robot that can be controlled by a computer or mobile device.
Thimble is designed for tinkerers ages 13 and up that have an interest in electronics (think of it as a more in-depth littleBits kit) or anyone that's simply interested in learning more on the subject.
Creators Oscar Pedroso and David Brenner have already blown past their initial $25,000 funding goal with more than $100,000 pledged and 45 days to go. A pledge of just $49 is all that's needed to score the Wi-Fi robot kit mentioned above (do note that you'll need to supply your own Arduino board).
It's unclear how much the monthly subscription service will sell for although it is reassuring to know that you can jump in and out of it any time you want.