Please allow me to rant for a moment...
I was engaged in a conversation recently when I was met with a statement that someone "had to buy me a gift, so it might as well be $thing."
Let me get one thing absolutely straight, for anyone listening.
You are not REQUIRED to buy, make, or otherwise procure a gift for me for any reason other than because you want to. I conform to many social conventions to be congenial but I abhor the social requirement of reciprocal gift giving.
If I haven't impacted your life in a manner significant enough to make you feel like showing your appreciation, don't phone it in. If you haven't come across something that just screams me, save your hard earned money. If you're just buying the biggest canned gift basked that fits within your allotted gift amount because you're obligated, please don't.
The fact that someone might be forced into giving a gift totally sucks any enjoyment out of receiving said gift for me, as the recipient, and it puts me in a bit of an angry state when the tables are turned. Gifting used to mean something, and sometimes it still does. But more often than not in this consumer driven world, we use stuff as a substitute for substance. It is not!
I hope this doesn't come off as me being a jerk- that is not my intent. But the commercialization of holidays like Christmas have completely destroyed the true meaning and have become disgusting perversions of what they're supposed to mean.
I promise, I will get more joy out of spending time with people who matter, disengaging from a pretty much constant work culture, and finding some time to actually relax, than I will in another tie or reindeer boxer shorts or that knock off android tablet that you won from work.
CAVEAT: Bourbon. Bourbon is always accepted and appreciated.