Christmas is practically around the corner so I hope you all have finished or are about to finish your holiday shopping. For those of you who have yet to start, there’s always overnight delivery (though a lot of online retailers will tell you that yesterday was your last chance to order and get it by Christmas).

I think Christmas is a very frustrating time for a lot of gift givers because of the emotional investment they either aren’t up to making or have made behind their obviously poor gift selection.

On one hand, if you’re self-admittedly lazy then you probably don’t care whether or not Uncle Fred likes his paid one-year subscription to the Jello of the Month club. In this scenario, not only were you not motivated to put some thought and effort into your gift but you’re also a terrible nephew/niece who couldn’t be bothered to buy something nice for poor Uncle Fred that could have made up for the bad present you got him on his birthday.

On the other hand, if you care about how your gift will be received you probably have it much worse. You’re wracking your brain trying to come up with that “perfect” gift that not only meets the recipient’s needs but also reminds them of you. So you stay up at night thinking about it because the last thing you want to do is give a gift that’s either useless or baseless. Nothing could be more disappointing to the parties involved.

You’ll come home after the festivities and practically berate yourself for giving (in hindsight) such a meaningless gift. What does that say about you? It says you don’t know that person as well as you thought you did. Maybe they’ve changed, maybe you’ve changed? In any case, you’re just not that close to that person, anymore, so you have no idea what their preferences are. Now that you’ve given them that meaningless gift, everyone else knows it, too.

Merry Christmas!