I have a precious goddaughter who lives and works in LA. You may remember my visit to see her a few years ago. Anyway, she has made my Christmas shopping for her exciting. She knows the cash amount I usually send. She then converts that to purchases she would love to have. She emails me the link and all that's left to do is click "buy it now". Her taste is excellent and her choices inspire me to think about getting the same things for me. Plus it gives me insight into her life choices. If her friends compliment her on these items in her home she can say "my godmother gave them to me.
Cash gifts were what my parents always gave. I now do the same. My children look forward to the money as do the grandchildren. It would be fun if they did the same as my God-daughter and make me able to have insight into their lives.