So its that time of year when we all try and find the perfect gift for every important person in our lives. I'm not sure if its just me but I love to give gifts but I HATE to give bad gifts. Its a lot of pressure. Also, I'm not very good at receiving gifts. In fact, I can hardly think of a more horrible person to buy something for than me. Its not that i'm unappreciative of the things its just that I often think it silly that we manufacture this sort of gift giving social contract. I suppose I always get stuck on this idea that a gift should fill a need (or desire) and if it doesn't its not worth giving. So with that little thing in mind, to give a good gift you really need to know someone's actual needs and i think that is something most people don't know. We might know someones hobbies or their favorite foods but i think its rare that we know precisely the item that was lacking in another persons life. I know that for me, there is very little that I need. If someone out there has a sweet post-doctoral appointment for the next couple of years...I do need that...and I forgot to ask Santa for it. So in the tradition of last year, i would encourage you all to look for a charity to donate to so that actual NEEDS can be met during this holiday season. Of course, I'll give you some good options if you can't decide on your own.