Choosing a Christmas gift is always a stressful time but scientists say it should be surprisingly easier than you think, claiming you should choose something you like rather than guessing what they want.

The research published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology focused on answering the longstanding question: What present should I buy for Christmas and will they actually like my choice of gift?

The new advice may come as surprise for some long suffering shoppers with the study, carried out by psychologists and other researchers, suggesting you don't need to overthink your presents.

It found that choosing a present which embodies the 'true self' of the giver is more likely to be in tune with the gift receiver's enjoyment of the present.

Buying a present that you think someone will like often leads to disappointment for the receiver.

'Does anyone receive a present they actually want to keep?' said Professor Adrian Furnham, University College London psychologist.

'There appears to be no relationship between the cost of a gift and the extent to which it is liked or preferred,' wrote Professor Furnham.

A study in September found that when 122 university students bought iTune songs as a gift for friends, the recipient tended to like the gift more if it reflected the buyer's personal favourite music.

Second guessing what someone wants for Christmas can often lead to a loss in understanding of what those closest to you actually value.

Professor Furnham said that the 'subtlety of the exchange' can be most easily seen when the choice of gift turns out to be completely wrong.

SImilarly researcher found that people who receive a generous main present as well as a smaller, cheaper gift, tend to work out the average value of the set of gifts.

The cheaper present in the 'bundle gift' approach tends to devalue the price of the main gift.

Researchers also gave some handy advice for couples, warning about the dangers of giving presents of great cost too early in the relationship, leading to over-hyped expectations.