ReadWriteShop is an occasional series about the intersection of technology and commerce.

Brace yourself: Tech enthusiasts across the land are about to get swamped by friends and family members begging for help on gadget gifts. Yes, that means you.

In the past, choosing a tablet often hinged on tech specs and app selection. But the gap in hardware performance has narrowed quite a bit, and app stores for Apple and Android devices are much more alike than they used to be. (Most of the top iPad apps are available on Android at this point.) So how to choose?

To steer your relatives through these shoals, turn to our handy tablet gift-guide flowchart and revel in the admiration and awe you'll receive in return.

Lead image via Flickr user ebayink, CC 2.0