I'm lucky that my family has no sentimental notions about "gift wrap" and "boxes" and that it has to be an actual item: they are happy to give cash as a present -- and I'm happy to get it
Sometimes I'm boggled by the presents some of my long-time friends give. Like, they've known me for over 10 years; how can they be so clueless?
But I do appreciate the thought anyway.
Very practical. Imagine the benefits if everyone felt the same. Giving money means 1) You can get exactly what you like, and 2) You can buy it at lower January sale prices.
I had an arrangement with my sister the last times we were still exchanging presents, that we'd both buy something to ourselves, wrap it and exchange cards to put on them. The surprise would be what you gave, not what you got, which was - to me - an improvement.