The woman's hat pattern I favor is Rikke, a free download on Ravelry. It is deceptively simple and has a little slouch. I have made a lot of people happy with these.
For the three men in my family who want knitted toques, I use my favorite Boyfriend Watch Cap by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas, a beautiful yarn store on Bainbridge Island in Washington. This is a purchased pattern. I knit these out of Cascade 220 which is a reasonably priced yarn and they turn out really well.
When making knitted gifts, I try and make sure that the people I am knitting for are 'Knit Worthy'. This means that they appreciate the gift as well as the time it took to make it and they will endeavour to take care of the item. I also make sure that the pattern and color will please the recipient or else the gift will live its life out in the bottom of a basket somewhere at the back of a dark closet... a nightmare for any knitter.
This year, I will include with my knits, a single wash dose of Eucalan with washing instructions. I am on a mission to educate my family on the care and feeding of their woolly treasures.