Finding the perfect gift for a loved one, even when you know what you're entering a store for, is hard. You have to contend with crowded parking lots, long lines and messy store shelves. It's one of the reasons, so many Canadians (23 per cent) say they'd rather clean a toilet than visit a mall the week before Christmas.

But there is hope -- thanks to the Internet! According to American Express, 56 per cent of people say they will skip real-world shopping in favour of scoring great gifts online. The survey, which was timed with the launch of AMEX's new Express Holiday Hotlist App, also honed in on what the key buying trends for the 2012 holiday season are.

What do people really, really want? What do Canadians dread receiving? And what are some of the key items people of all stripes will love? We've got all of the answers for you below.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Top 4 Holiday Gifting Trends

    4. Toys (28 per cent)

  • Top 4 Holiday Gifting Trends

    3. Clothing And Accessories (38 per cent)

  • Top 4 Holiday Gifting Trends

    2. Electronics (39 per cent)

  • Top 4 Holiday Gifting Trends

    1. Entertainment (57 per cent)

  • Top 3 Things Canadians Are Wishing For This Year

    3. Cash (20 per cent)

  • Top 3 Things Canadians Are Wishing For This Year

    2. Gift Cards (24 per cent)

  • Top 3 Things Canadians Are Wishing For This Year

    1. Books Or Music (25 per cent)

  • Top 3 Gifts Canadians Dread Receiving

    3. Ugly Sweaters (17 per cent)

  • Top 3 Gifts Canadians Dread Receiving

    2. Tacky Holiday Ornaments (18 per cent)

  • Top 3 Gifts Canadians Dread Receiving

    1. Fruitcake (20 per cent)

  • What Women Want To Be Gifted

    3. Clothing Or Accessories (23 per cent)

  • What Women Want To Be Gifted

    2. Books Or Music (26 per cent)

  • What Women Want To Be Gifted

    1. Gift Cards (31 per cent)

  • What Men Want To Be Gifted

    3. Video Games (14 per cent)

  • What Men Want To Be Gifted

    2. Books Or Music (23 per cent)

  • What Men Want To Be Gifted

    1. Tech Toys (27 per cent)

RELATED: 10 Worst Gifts To Give Someone

Loading Slideshow...
  • A Piece Of String

    String has many uses. It can be wrapped around gifts, can tie things together and is even used as a belt (sometimes). Where a string doesn't belong is in a box as a present. The goal of a gift exchange between best friends was to buy one thing and to make one thing. The giver of this piece of string simply couldn't learn how to crochet a winter headband in time, so the result was a crocheted piece of string. It is potentially the worst Christmas gift ever -- even hipsters wouldn't find it funny or ironic.

  • Bedazzled Toilet Brush

    This toilet brush was sitting under the Christmas tree last Christmas, all wrapped up with a nametag. One sister spent some time to glue sequins all over a standard toilet brush to create a truly 'unique' gift. Yep, this actually happened. But now the other sister's bathroom looks a bit more glamorous, no?

  • $3.86

    Three dollars and eighty-six cents. In change in a Ziploc bag, sent in the mail for Christmas. A variety of coins tossed together that led to several question marks. "What am I supposed to buy with this?" "Why gift this precise amount of money?" "Was it really worth mailing?" All questions aside, the recipient pocketed the change and headed to the nearest coffee shop.

  • A Tablecloth Pattern

    A step-by-step guide on how to make a circular lace tablecloth for someone who doesn't sew whatsoever -- fabric included. It would be a great gift if the recipient had a circular table and knew how to work a sewing machine. But they didn't, and don't. So strange.

  • Craisins

    Even if you notice someone likes to eat Craisins regularly, we're going to suggest you not buy them the biggest bag of dried cranberries for Christmas. Imagine the recipient's surprise when she pulled the dried fruit out of a beautifully stuffed bag -- it was a look of shock and confusion not joy.

  • Book About Dinosaurs

    The recipient of this gift loves to read, but last Christmas he wasn't expecting to read an in-depth book about dinosaurs at the age of 22. Once he passed the age of 10, he never really anticipated receiving books about dinos (If you are gift buying for an adult like Ross Geller from 'Friends,' however, go crazy for dinosaur-themed everything). <br><em>National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book Of Dinosaurs. Price:$12.88. Available at: <a href="http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/home/" target="_hplink">Chapters/Indigo</a></em>

  • Coal

    What's more classic than getting a lump of coal? It means you've been a bad person all year and that Santa isn't impressed. It was a funny prank by a family for their mom, but it turned out to be a fairly insulting "gift." No one wants to know you think they're on the naughty list. Especially not your mom.

  • Spring

    Wait, what? Someone gave someone else springtime? Of course not! But they did receive a certificate of "I'm-sorry-but-I-can't-find-the-presents-I-hid-for-you-so-you'll-have-to-wait-until-spring-to-get-them." Moral of the story: It's a lot of fun to hide presents, just make sure you remember where you're stashing the stuff.

  • A Snowboard

    The recipient of this gift lives in a huge city with no mountains in sight. They had never been skiing or snowboarding, so imagine their surprise when this naked board showed up. No boots. No bindings. No lessons. Just a board. A snowboard on its own is basically useless and the add-ons that make a snowboard function are mighty expensive -- especially for a student. This is the ultimate gifting fail.

  • A Boyfriend

    The cackle from the parents who gave their daughter this 'companion' is still ringing in her head. It was a backhanded joke that insulted her relationship status. Being given this faux boyfriend by family was just sad. And wrong. Sad and wrong. <br><em>Grow A Boyfriend. $5.95. Available at <a href="http://www.amazon.com/" target="_hplink">amazon.com</a>.</em>

  • Unusual Holiday Gift Ideas