The UK public are a generous lot at Christmas – but it seems we don’t spend our gift budget very wisely.
New research has found that the average person spends £60.25 per family member on Christmas presents, but almost half (46%) of Brits can’t actually remember a single gift they got for Christmas last year.
The pressure to buy presents can be overwhelming this time of year, and it’s easy to feel forced into buying as much as possible for loved ones. Yet, at the same time, many of us are increasingly aware of waste and the environmental effects of landfill, and more people are questioning the merits of buying any old thing just for the sake of it. So where are we going wrong with our gift buying, and could there be a better way of finding the right present?
Research from deals publisher Travelzoo has uncovered gift-giving trends with a survey of over 2,000 adults in the UK, and found some insights to help people give more memorable gifts – from demographic trends to the gifts you should avoid.
Are ‘presents for the sake of it’ on the way out?
There were signs that ‘stocking fillers’ could be on the way out. There’s a growing body of research which suggests that experiences are a sure bet for happiness and the Travelzoo research confirmed that demographics are in line with that. Younger respondents were the least likely to prioritise material things, as members of Generation Z and millennials (respondents aged under 35) were four times likelier to want an experience over a physical gift than those aged over 55.
Things vs experiences: gifts around the UK
The survey found that those in the southwest were the most materialistic, with 44% preferring to get physical presents over experiences. People in the East Midlands (30%) are the least concerned about physical things and would prefer to receive an experience they can enjoy with family and friends.
Perhaps surprisingly, mums were found to be most guilty of buying unmemorable and non-personal gifts, (10% of respondents named and shamed Mum from a list of 17 relatives and friends), followed closely by colleagues (9%).
To keep the costs of Christmas down, almost a third (33%) set a price cap when exchanging gifts with their family and 25% agree to do Secret Santa with their friends and family.
A further 57% agree not to buy presents with their close friends, siblings or colleagues, and have been doing this for over four years.
Unfortunately for the grandmothers of Sheffield, almost a quarter (22%) of people from the city don’t buy gifts for their nan in order to save money, compared with the 13% national average.
The UK’s top 10 most unoriginal gifts
Travelzoo also included an open response for bad gifts, and there was a long list of repeat offenders when respondents were asked about the worst gift they’d received. Here are the top 10 most unoriginal gifts you can give to anyone:
Chocolate selection box (57%)
Bath accessories (51%)
Lynx box set (30%)
Unwanted fragrance (28%)
Generic '3 for 2' cosmetics selection (24%)