It isn't about the gift so much, nor how much it cost. It isn't even really the "thought that counts" either, since one can think about getting a gift, but never get around to doing it. It's about the effort put into it to please the person you intend it for. It isn't just effort put into finding or making the right gift, it is the effort put into having it on time, and the effort put into the presentation of said gift.
A birthday gift is no longer really a birthday gift if it is thrown into your lap two days after your birthday with no gift wrapping on it. A Christmas gift is no longer a Christmas gift if it is finally bought three months later. Presentation and timing are everything. What is inside the gift is less important. Obviously, a well-thought out gift is something picked out with a particular person in mind, knowing his/her tastes exactly. But sometimes you can't find the perfect gift. Or maybe you can't afford it. Or maybe you don't know the person well enough. Even when you do find the perfect gift, presentation and timing are still key.
Christmas and birthdays are traditionally days we offer gifts to people we care about. Especially the ones we care about most. If you listen to commercials, we'd all be giving expensives gifts everytime there is a holiday, but that is ridiculous. Most people give gifts on these two occasions. And most expect to receive some token of appreciation on these two days.
So, how does it feel when you hang up your Christmas stocking every year, and consistently, every year at Christmas it is empty, unless you have put something in there yourself to make it look less flat?
How does it feel to know ahead of time, every year, that there won't be a Christmas gift under the tree for you from the person you love? How does it feel to think that you don't merit even a little bit of effort?
Pretty darn crappy I would think.