Many Brits don’t remember what they got last Christmas

13 Dec 2018

The UK public are a generous lot at Christmas – but it seems we don’t spend our gift budget very wisely. Our research has found that although the average person spends £60.25 per family member on Christmas presents, 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 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 hitting the mark?

To find out, we carried out a survey of over 2,000 adults in the UK looking into gift-giving trends. And, along with insights into gifting behaviour, we uncovered some useful findings – from demographic trends to the top gifts to avoid.

Are ‘presents for the sake of it’ on the way out?

There were signs that ‘stocking fillers’ could be a thing of the past. A growing body of research indicates that experiences are more memorable and a surer bet for happiness than material gifts, and our research found 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.

Official: the UK’s top 10 most unoriginal gifts

We 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:

1. Socks (60%)
2. Chocolate selection box (57%)
3. Bath accessories (51%)
4. Pyjamas (47%)
5. Underwear (41%)
6. Lynx box set (30%)
7. Unwanted fragrance (28%)
8. Generic '3 for 2' cosmetics selection (24%)
9. Toothbrush (13%)
10. Bible (10%)

The best worst gifts

Outside the top 10 there were quite a few more, erm, niche nominations. They ranged from the cringeworthy to the unsanitary to the simply bizzare. And we just couldn't resist bringing them to you in visual format. So we present you with our best worst Christmas gifts, as nominated by the UK public:

Things vs experiences: gifts around the UK

The demographics stacked up interestingly. The survey found that those in the South West 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 their family and friends.

Perhaps surprisingly, mums were found to be the guiltiest of buying unmemorable and nonpersonal 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.

If you’re in need of inspiration for friends and family, take a look at our curated selections of gift experiences for her, or browse our gifts for him – and if it’s a case of cutting it fine, check out our last-minute gift experiences.

Consumer survey from Censuswide on behalf of Travelzoo of 2,002 UK consumers aged 16 and over, conducted 21/11/2018–26/11/2018



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