We are in a recession, but it doesn’t seem to be stopping the Christmas shopping frenzy. Is shopping the only way to celebrate Christmas? Do we need to spend so much money on presents? What’s with this compulsion to splurge ever increasing amounts of money, which few of us have to spare? Apparently we do have cravings for gift-buying. It’s the giver, not the recipient, who reaps the biggest gains from a gift. By giving we share love, show appreciation, validate that someone is important to us. Somehow these points were confused with money and present giving became the demonstration of how much money you are willing to spend on someone. The holidays have become too materialistic. We tend to forget that there are things more valuable than money that should be invested in a gift: your time and energy, your talent and caring consideration. Those nearest and dearest assume you know them well enough to buy a useful and/or meaningful present. You need to turn on your imagination and come out with the idea of perfect gifts that cost less and impress more.

Do you really know what to give to the loved one? Or at least what not to give?

Guys are usually blamed more for bad gifts. Maybe they are too busy to be creative. And shopping is not really their thing, so they postpone it to the last moment. For Christmas men like shopping on December 24th, that in fact gives their ladies a chance for a better gift because all the cheap items are already gone.

Men do not understand the concept of "hints". They would not recognize that when she points at some random magazine in say...June and yells "Wow, I really like these earrings", that really means, "Wow, these are exactly what I want for Christmas” which would mean that you are paying attention to her and that you love her.

Guys are likely to think of something as ‘a gift for us’ that is in reality ‘a gift for himself’. It seems so reasonable for him that she will love that fishing rod, so you can share the hobby and spend more time together.

Guys take liberty to buy girls clothes. Even if they have impeccable taste, clothes are a woman's pleasure. Better give her the money to buy clothing instead.

Don’t give her Gift certificate for Weight Watchers. You will be signing your own death warrant.

Anti-wrinkle cream is not a good idea either. Would you like her to buy you acne cream?

Avoid anything defined as "lingerie", because you are most likely unable to comprehend the complexity of lingerie sizing. If you get something too big, it tells her you think she's the size of a battleship, and if you buy something too small, she will think this is the size you secretly wish she was. All things considered, better buy something defined as "chocolate."

Giving kitchen appliances or cleaning aid would be a good idea only if she asked you for it.

Guys usually ignore the wrapping. That’s a big mistake. A nice package can actually save your gift. If the girl unwraps your present with the precision of a surgeon and announces: "Cool! I'm going to save the paper for next year", you may think of success, no matter what is inside the package.

Women are also making gift-giving mistakes, despite of their creativity and love for shopping. Sometimes they are too practical. For God’s sake, how many ties and socks does he need?

Women are making the same mistake with handyman appliances as men do with kitchen tools. Wait until he asks for it or go other direction.

Stay away from Self Help Books. If your guy is in need of a self help book let him buy on his own.

Giving men jewelry can completely un-man them. Please don’t.

Framed picture of your beautiful self can be not the best choice either.

As a final point, gift giving can be a joy, a challenge, a stress or a celebration of love. The presents alone cannot make or break the holiday. Remember the Grinch? Even the mean green guy has realized that ‘maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. That maybe Christmas . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more!’