Beads for this can be whatever your recipient or you like. Too many glass beads though could make the piece heavy. You could also do a mix of bead work (using head pins and such) with the crochet and/or knit piece.
Jewelry is always welcome for holidays, birthdays, births, anniversaries, any day of the week really. Here are some ideas.
star street ensemble
In addition to these, a search using your favorite search engine will provide more possibilities than imagined. Do some or all of these ideas with bead wire instead of yarns or threads and some memorable pieces could be made.
There are books at Michaels.com that have more starting points.