I restrict who I buy presents for, and those I do buy for tend to get the same thing. Well not exactly, but some variation on the theme of a bottle of nice wine or a box of good chocs.
Not many kids or teenagers I know would say thank you
like they meant it if they got either of those things.
I don't know any kids or teenagers, and by god, I don't intend to, let alone start buying presents for any of them...!
In any event, I wasn't aware that happiness of the recipient is a key determinant of whether the social ritual of present-giving has been successfully completed.
Actually, on a somewhat more serious note, most people will be as happy with wine/chocs as with anything else I could give them.
Think about this: most people I know don't actually need
anything, so one present is as good as another really. The idea of spending hours shopping for a "perfect gift" is a waste of my time, as if it was something they really
wanted, they'd go out and buy it themselves.
Anything they want but wouldn't buy themselves is highly likely to cost more money than is reasonable to spend on a Christmas present.
Ergo, it will be the act of giving, rather than the gift itself, that people will remember. In that sense, present exchanges at Christmas are valued almost entirely for their social ritual effect rather than the presents themselves. So they may as well get wine and chocs.
I view that as quite a pleasing truth despite the commercialism around Christmas.