There have been quite a few times I have bought domain names on behalf of friends or for friends and family. Most of the time, these domain names were hand registrations for people who recently had babies or for friends who started businesses.
The 101Domain blog has an article about giving domain names as gifts. For several of the gift giving occasions they cited, they recommended a new gTLD domain name. I think this could be a good option, especially when the desired .com is already taken and the new gTLD domain name can be bought inexpensively.
I am curious if you have ever bought a domain name for someone as a gift. Vote in the poll below and let us know if you bought a .com or one of the new domain names (or something else).