One of the things I love about sewing is that it gives you the skills to transform something ordinary and utilitarian into a thoughtful creative expression. Even better if it is a gift! Perhaps dishtowels or dishcloths seem like the most mundane of gifts, but really they are the opportunity to add a thoughtful touch or even a bit of luxury to the every day. And, if they aren't perfectly to the taste of the recipient at least they can help with the work!
So I've take the rick rack approach to kitchen towels and made a Christmas flavor. I love the chartreuse variation on the traditional red and green.
If you don't want to gift a holiday-specific set you can always pick from the wide variety of rick rack to assemble something in your friend's favorite colors, or mimic the latest fashion palette. I think a handmade touch like this, especially it's custom made for one person, is appreciated for both the thought and the gift!
If you are interested in the tutorial it can be found right here.