Survey: We’re prepared to dig deep to keep up appearances at Christmas

Three in four people in the UK would be happy to receive a secondhand gift this Christmas yet less than half would consider giving one, according to new research.

Wednesday, 23rd November 2011, 5:19 am

Despite concerns over the rising cost of day-to-day living, the pressure to appear un-miserly at Christmas means people expect to spend close to £470 on average over the festive period this year – around £30 more than last year.

The pressure to buy new appears misplaced however as the vast majority of people in the UK would gratefully receive a second-hand gift which would provide givers the opportunity to spend the same amount but on better quality presents.

Classified ads website surveyed more than 2,000 consumers on their Christmas spending and what they believe important for the perfect festive season.

Despite the cost of gifts being the biggest financial concern in the build up to Christmas only one in ten believe receiving presents is essential for the perfect Christmas. Spending time with family is considered the most important by far.

Cedric Brochier of said: “Keeping up appearances is a very British trait and is never more present than at Christmas.

“While Brits like to recycle and be environmentally conscious these days, keeping up with the Joneses is as British as the make do and mend spirit.

“Not wanting to appear like a miser at Christmas puts a lot of financial pressure on people at this time of year, but we should loosen up.

“The vast majority of people would be happy to receive a second-hand gift and only one in ten feel receiving presents is essential for the prefect celebration. We should be trying to break the belief that new is best – especially as, for the most part, second-hand gifts mean better quality presents at a lower price.”

While the national average spend on gifts, travel, food and drink this Christmas will be nearly £470 in total, it is people aged between 41 and 50 who will spend the most this year. This age group, who are typically at the centre of large extended families, will spend nearly £600 on average.

In-laws give the worst gifts according to the research, closely followed by friends and children. However, the majority of the UK’s unwanted gifts aren’t going to waste. 29 per cent of people give unwanted gifts to charity while 12 per cent sell them online and another 12per cent re-wrap them and give them away as presents.