A recent CNN poll found that during this economically troubled holiday season 68 percent of Americans are buying gifts that their friends and family need, compared to 27 percent who are buying gifts they think they would enjoy.
As for me, as part of my annual tradition of getting gifts for my favorite -- and not so favorite -- public figures, I'm going for the middle ground, choosing gifts they need... and that I think you might enjoy.
Here's this year's list:
Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Mitch McConnell and the other congressional obstructionists: a DVD of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, so they can see the proper use of a filibuster -- to fight corruption, not promote it.
Health insurance and drug company lobbyists: Nothing -- they're getting enough from the Senate and the White House this Christmas.
Lou Dobbs: Just a simple "Feliz Navidad."
Mark Sanford and Tiger Woods: Love-sick emails that self-destruct 60 seconds after you send them. "Soul mates" they are actually married too.
Jenny Sanford and Elin Nordegren: Husbands they can trust. An at-home HIV test. The best divorce lawyer money can buy.
Joe Wilson, Kanye West, and Serena Williams: Impulse control.
Meghan McCain: More attention for her fabulous cleaving takes (Karl Rove is a "creepy" Twitter follower; Dick Cheney should "go away"), and less attention for her fabulous cleavage.
Taylor Swift: a Harry Winston-designed mace holder for her next awards show meet-up with Kanye West.
Tareq and Michaele Salahi: a Photoshop class -- it's a much less obnoxious way to get a picture of yourself with Obama and Biden.
Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger: the pilot's seat on my next flight. And the next one. And the next one...
The Iranian people: a green uprising that turns into a velvet revolution.
The American people: Real health care reform (Medicare For All).
Carrie Prejean: New breast implants, so she can give back the ones the Miss California pageant bought for her.
Roman Polanski: a cellmate who also believes that plying someone with champagne and a Quaalude and anally penetrating them is "making love."
Larry Summers: a Goldman Sachs pension -- after all, he's earned it.
Richard and Mayumi Heene: Parenting classes. Behind bars.
Falcon Heene: Classmates who've never watched TV.
David from "David After the Dentist": Classmates who've never watched YouTube.
All the cable anchors who spent endless hours expressing their deep concern for Balloon Boy: the names of some of the 13 million children living in poverty in this country who desperately need their concern and attention, and some time in the media spotlight.
Erin Andrews: a lifetime supply of masking tape. And a plush hotel robe -- floor-length.
Orly Taitz: Someone to tell her that her 15 minutes expired months ago.
The cast of Jersey Shore: a copy of "Dummies for Dummies." Vasectomies for the guys and a lifetime supply of birth control pills for the girls.
Members of the GOP: an Xbox 360. They might as well occupy themselves with something, since they've decided to do nothing in Congress.
Lady Gaga: Guy Ritchie -- She's already stolen everything else that used to belong to Madonna.
The recipients of the 3.9 million foreclosure notices sent to homeowners this year: a cramdown amendment that isn't killed by banking lobbyists.
Goldman Sachs: $23 billion of taxpayers' money. Oops, sorry -- that's what we gave them last year.
That's my list. Now it's your turn to play Santa. Who's been naughty and who's been nice? Please post your gift ideas for your favorite -- and not so favorite -- public figures in the comments section and we'll collect the best ones and unwrap them on Christmas Day.
UPDATE, Christmas Day
Click here to read your gift suggestions, including a GPS for Barack Obama, to show him the way from Wall Street to Main Street (submitted by manx).