17-Dec-2018 • Personal Finance

A new study by ME shows while 87% of Australians are intending to give gifts this Christmas, 48% of those giving would rather give less.

The survey of 1,000 Australians who participate in Christmas gift giving also found:

· 41% said the money they spend on Christmas gifts causes them financial worry

· 44% said they would like to cut back on Christmas gifts to afford other things like paying bills

· 48% feel pressured to spend more than they want on Christmas gifts

Australians will buy on average 11 gifts this Christmas season spending on average $240 in total.

So why aren’t Australians cutting back? ME’s study suggests a sense of Christmas duty, with 58% saying ‘most gifts are given out of a sense of obligation’.

Work colleagues (58%), extended family (51%) and in-laws (30%) are the top people respondents would like to cull from their gift giving obligations.

The good news is around 71% of respondents said it’s totally ‘acceptable to suggest not buying Christmas presents to people who give them to you, in order to save money’.

ME Money Expert Matthew Read said “Christmas is a great time to spend with family and presents can be symbol of love and generosity, but they shouldn’t break the bank.

“If you struggle to pay for gifts there are things you can do. Consumers should have the courage to talk to their gift giving circle about unnecessary gift giving. It’s highly likely they feel the same way.”

“Other common tips include setting present spending limits, shopping early to reduce overspending in a rush, and arranging a Kris Kringle.”

Supporting the argument for giving less is ME’s finding that 45% say they are saddled with unwanted Christmas gifts.

Millennials aged 25-39 and Gen Zs aged 18-24 are the most likely generations to receive unwanted gifts (56% and 55%, respectively).

Parents were rated the worst gift-givers – particularly by Gen Zs − followed by in-laws.

But most are reluctant to take any action if they received a dud gift, and would choose to keep the gift to preserve the peace (55%) versus re-gift it (28%), throw it out or donate it (21%), or return it to the store for a refund or replacement (7%).

Worst money manners at Christmas

While it’s acceptable to suggest not buying Christmas presents, ME’s survey revealed a number of etiquette no-go zones:


% who disagree

Is it acceptable to buy someone a Christmas gift you want in the hope they might not like it & will give it to you


A relative buys you a shirt you’d rather burn than wear for Christmas – is it acceptable to ask for the receipt


Is it acceptable to avoid friends and family until after Christmas so you can buy them gifts in the sales


Is it acceptable to return a full price gift, rebuy it during the sales and pocket the difference


Is it acceptable to buy someone a cheap Christmas gift, put it in a fancy box and make out it cost a fortune



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