"It turns out it's not the thought that counts, it's the gift that counts," says Nicholas Epley, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago who co-authored the November study.
Some wisdom in this article. I don't give a lot of gifts. Maybe it's more of an upper class thing, I infer from watching one-half episode of Revenge, which I will never do again. For young persons, I think cash is greatly appreciated. For female persons of interest, expensive jewelry of classical style. If your idea of expensive is not hers, probably you need a different girlfriend. N.B. I am married to my girlfriend. And remember, jewelry may not be a great investment, but at least it's an asset. Flowers are a waste of money and don't seem to have the impact they once did. Do not buy books for book lovers. If a person loves books, his tastes are going to have evolved beyond the point where you can add helpfully to his collection. Gift cards at Amazon are good, though. Regifting is fine, I should think, unless you get caught; then it seems pretty lame. I admit I am completely baffled by this phenomenon of -- I bought a goat for some family in Peru and now I'm telling you about it; merry Christmas. How is that a gift? To the Peruvians, sure, but how is it a gift to me? It's like saying, I know I can't trust you to buy a goat for Peruvians, so I'm doing it for you. If I believed in karma, and thought it was assignable (two big leaps) then ok, a goat is good, but otherwise? Ah, almost forgot, booze more expensive than a given person would buy for himself, is almost always appreciated. A close friend gave me a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label. Oh yeah. You need to find out, however, if the person is a Scotch drinker (as am I) or whatever. Last year I think it was, our dog was poisoned, accidentally I hope, and we blew our Christmas budget and more saving her life at the doggy ICU. Thousands. Gifts were small and cheap that year. Nobody seemed to mind and Biscuit pulled through. The best gift is your dog not dying. --TS