What gift to get for the person with no interests?

The billions of dollars spent on holiday shopping each year leaves out one big piece of the gift-giving puzzle.

Americans are planning to spend $586.1 billion this holiday season, up 4.1 percent from last year, according to the National Retail Federation. But those statistics don't tell the whole story, says commentator Beth Teitell.

In those billions spent, we see nothing of the “Hard to Buy For.”

“They are the giftees who, like the devil himself, assume many forms: the brother-in-law with no hobbies or interests; the dad who overnights himself whatever he wants; the teenager with unknowable preferences; the mom who insists she needs nothing -- don't even think about me; the baby with fussy parents,” says Teitell.

Teitell considers the specific problems inherent in shopping for these H2BFs…and whether all the extra effort is, at the end of the day, worth the hassle.

“Maybe it really is better to give than to receive,” she says.

About the author

Beth Teitell writes for the Boston Globe. Her most recent book is called "Drinking Problems at the Fountain of Youth."

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