Guessing what another person wants to receive for Christmas is an impossible task, and one many people do badly.
This is an assertion that's backed up by economics. In "the deadweight loss of Christmas" Joel Waldfogel finds gift-giving can knock up to a third off the value of an item because the recipient doesn't really want it.
But bosses who are trying to spread a bit of festive cheer should also take note, because this mismatch between what people want, and what people actually end up getting also takes place at work.
In a study by recruiter Robert Half, employees said that the perk they'd most like (other than a pay rise) was more holiday (40 per cent). Flexible working hours was snapping at its heels (28 per cent), followed by more training or professional development opportunities (16 per cent).
But the findings are a stark contrast to what employees' bosses think they want. Bosses believe the number one perk for employees is flexible hours (56 per cent), followed by more holiday (23 per cent) and working from home (nine per cent).
"It's tempting in our 'always-on' economy to let the lines between home life and work become blurred, but it's worth remembering that to maintain a productive and loyal workforce, employers need to give their staff the opportunity to switch off and recharge," Phil Sheridan, managing director at Robert Half UK, said.
"Offering extra time off over the holidays will mean that employees return with higher levels of motivation and morale in January."