This time of year is always hectic. President Obama’s birthday is this Sunday, and just like clockwork, here I am running around at the last minute looking for the perfect gift. I was hoping this year was going to be a bit more relaxed because two months ago I picked up what I thought was just the thing for the Commander in Chief: a pair of novelty salt and pepper shakers from Niagara Falls. But now that I'm wrapping them, I'm starting to realize how completely embarrassing it would be to give them to POTUS.

Sure, he'll be touched by the gesture and appreciate that I made the effort. But every year, I try to use this opportunity to say, “Thank you for all your hard work as president.” Is that really what a set of salt and pepper shakers says? Or does it say, “I heard you like to season food.”

Man, why did I think these pieces of junk were a good idea?

It's not like the White House doesn't provide salt and pepper shakers for the Obamas. And as far as I know, there is no White House tchotchke wall to put them on. I mean, now they seem like a present for my aunt rather than an appropriate gift for the Leader of the Free World.

After five years, maybe I've run out of steam. The first year was easy; I got Barack one of those hoops you can put on your trashcan, so even throwing away a piece of paper becomes a game of basketball, something we all know he loves. Swish! Sure, not every subsequent birthday was easy, but, in the end, I always felt pretty confident in my decision. (My favorite gift was the leather-bound diary I gave him 2010. It was the perfect thing to pour his thoughts and emotions into, which was clearly something he needed; it was a pretty tough year for him.)

But these salt and pepper shakers? Ugh! I thought the hand-painted lettering and googly eyes were “cute,” but now I feel like like they’re sending the wrong message—that I think his policies toward Canada are cartoonishly stupid, or that maybe I'm not taking him seriously as president. All I want to say is “Happy B-day Mr. Prez, I appreciate you,” and these simply will not get the job done.

This is why I sort of miss George W. Bush. I disagreed with the way he ran the country, but buying him a subscription to the Omaha Steak of the Month Club every year took a lot of pressure off.

It's so hard to buy for Democrats!

My friend Nathan says I'm overthinking the whole thing and should just relax. Easy for him to say. He already got the president a $75 gift certificate for a hot stone massage at the best spa in D.C. But that's Nathan—he makes buying the perfect presents for world leaders look effortless.

So, it looks like this year will be just as filled with frantic last-minute shopping as all the other ones. Right now, the best ideas I have are an American flag iPhone case, a box set of the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and a sweater I found at a thrift store that says, “The Boss.” I realize none of these scream, “President of the United States of America!” but I'm running out of time and options.

As for these salt and pepper shakers, I guess I could just wait until October 26 and give them to Bolivian president Evo Morales.

Or for Kissinger. Yeah, he loves that kind of goofy crap.