drakonka
For my first Birthday when we started dating, my boyfriend sent me to a spa for a night. I loved that he just booked for one and didn't offer to come, or asked if I wanted him to: I appreciated the no-pressure alone time.

Another time, he got me a really great coffee grinder. He took his time doing research on them and picked the best possible option within his budget - which I think ended up being just the best option period, regardless of budget. I tend to be a little particular about equipment like that and really appreciate that he went to the effort of researching different types of grinders and didn't just pick a random one off the shelf. I would've appreciated the gesture regardless, but the knowledge that he took the effort to make an informed choice just made the gift that much more impressive (and timely, since this turned out to be just days before I self-isolated for a year... was great to have a proper grinder at home).

reylas
Like other technology people, I usually buy everything that I want. My favorite present was this:

I had a friend that was the art teacher at the local community college. Was one of my favorite people. He slowly died of cancer a couple of years back. My wife purchased a frame print of a water color christmas tree of his. I almost lost it when I opened it. Means little to most, everything to me.

The best presents have meaning to those who receive them.

incomingpain
My Kobo ereader:

I had an early kindle for the longest time, no backlight, basic. I wanted to upgrade, I got my moneys worth out of the kindle for sure.

I was planning to get a new ereader during xmas and boxing day but nothing really went on sale last year. They were usually $200 for what I wanted but on these 'sales' they listed $300 scratched down to $250. I was planning to wait until they went on real sale but my wife got me one for my bday.

Backlight, physical buttons for back and forth. USB-C for charging. Oh ya, much like.

warrenm
In chronological order, a few things that were "extra special" when they were given (this is not exhaustive):

Christmas 86 or 87 - Tonka front-end loader: my kids today still play with that thing (though the paint's peeling, and there're rusty spots all over, they have a blast with it)

birthday 1991 - a Tandy 102 laptop: it's what I learned to program on (with all of its 40x8 screen glory, 6.2 file naming, and 21446 bytes of storage (including file names))

birthday 1996 - Applied Cryptography 2d ed: my grandpa took me to Borders to pick out a book (or several) for my birthday. I assured him I not only was interested in that book, but that I'd read it. When my grandparents came back to visit for Christmas, I told him not only that I'd read it, but how much fun I'd had doing so (and what all it was about)

Christmas 2007 (or was it 08?) - my first netbook and Acer AspireOne: great battery life, decent built-in camera, solid wifi, ad would even run (a couple years later) Haiku. Took that puppy with me to Singapore to keep in touch with friends and family back home (including my now wife)

Father's Day 2018/2019 - flame socks. My kids picked them out because they'd be sure to keep my feet warm in the winter, since there are flames on the side :)

thorin
Was thinking back to childhood when deciding what to get my kids at xmas time.

The big presents that stand out:

Commodore Vic 20 when I was about 6 so I started "programming" immediately. This was followed by a zx spectrum +3 a few years later and then again by the Commmodore Amiga 500.

My first BMX bike aged about 10

My first guitar aged about 15, still playing it over 30 years later, although I treated myself to another last year.

"Lesser" gifts I enjoyed, electronics building kits, chemistry set, microscope, BOOKS

softwaredoug
I can afford most things I care about. In fact I'd rather buy it, as its often technology, and I don't trust others to know my tastes.

For that reason, my favorite gifts are

* Childcare over a few days - a parent helping so my wife and I can get away

* Donations to charities I care about

* Sentimental things / things kids make

t-3
Clothes and money are the only presents I've received that I ever use or appreciate. I just yell at people that I don't need anything, take it back until they stop trying nowadays.
Ghoyome
Lego mind storms. The blue kit with lightning all over it. “Programming” the RCX was probably what got me hooked on computers. And oh those damn alien Lego pieces, I probably spent more time with these thing than with almost all my siblings combined for the next 3 years.
kieckerjan
I am a notoriously difficult person for gifts. Now that I have everything I need even more difficult than before. I think the best gift I ever got was a proper dutch oven, around my 20th birthday. It became my go-to pan. I still use it on a daily basis.
exolymph
When I was 13, my dad gave me every single Beatles CD (that was released while the band was still together). It was a phenomenal gift. I don't have the CDs anymore, nor do I listen to the Beatles particularly often these days, but I will never forget the joy of exploring the band's whole discography in my bedroom. And it was a very thoughtful gift — the movie Across the Universe had just come out and my classmates and I were mildly obsessed with the Beatles, which my dad noticed.
unixhero
By far my computer. Future shaping.

Secondly Sega Master System. Mind bending.

epirogov
these are the days that the biggest giveaway for me would be, rain storm, fog, blizzard on the territories around me. this would prevent 1,000 people from dying in a day on one side and the other of the confrontation
scoperesolution
Was gifted a 1979 Remington 870 Wingmaster shotgun by a close family member. The anti-gun crowd can sit and spin, the security provided by it goes a long way.
verdenti
My parents spent a lot of money that they could barely spare at the time to buy me the full encyclopedia set. This was pre internet so it was pretty life changing for me.
sr.ht