Ho ho NO! I didn’t want that gift for Christmas, along with another £27billion!

As Christmas approaches, it’s estimated that we will spend a huge £73 billion, many of us have also admitted that we will return almost half of the goods, some £27 billion worth. So, do you return a gift, if that gift is not quite right?

Research by Watchshop.com has confirmed that almost 40% of the UK public have returned or replaced an unwanted gift in the past, with 25% even selling an unwanted gift.  It is also behaviour that is found more in couples than singles, with Brits in relationships most likely to resell gifts.

Why do we so this? It seems that only 49% of Brits like surprises, then rest almost 1 in 4 prefer to choose their own gifts.

Much of this could be due to a decreased appetite for the unknown, with only 49% of Brits liking gifts to be a surprise. Instead, nearly one in five prefer to choose their own gifts, by for instance making sure their family and friends are well aware of their wish list before the season, or by simply buying the gift themselves and asking someone else to wrap it for them. The Scots were found to be the fussiest, with 22% preferring to pick out their own presents.

Is it all about the costs though?  Do you need that top up Christmas loan to make sure that you can afford everything you want?  A big part of the reason people don’t like to be surprised is that they base their own gifts choices on things they can’t necessarily afford, especially around Christmas time.  People would rather prioritise spending on gifts for other people.

However a 68% majority still do prefer a well thought out gift or one that has sentimental meaning over an expensive one (10%).  That doesn’t mean that we aren’t interested in the costs, with nearly a quarter of us looking up the value online, with 18-24 year olds the guiltiest as 42% of them check.

Still, the majority do say they prefer a well thought out or sentimental gift (68%) over an expensive one (10%). However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t curious about the value, with nearly a quarter looking up the monetary value of their gift online – a figure that rises to a whopping 42% among 18-24 year olds. The study also found that women are more likely than men to buy a gift based on the value of a gift they have received from that person. Whilst nearly 50% of 25-34yr olds based their present buying on the value of the gifts they have received.

Brits still care about the gifts though, spending on average 3.5 days finding the right present, which could add up to a lot of man hours if you have a lot of gifts to buy.

So for those who are planning on returning or selling their gifts and getting the cash instead, you may want to consider paying off some of your Christmas debts.  A lot of us will fund Christmas on credit, so it’s a good idea to ensure that you can pay off that card before any introductory period or special offer rate ends.  However at this time of year, there are also some excellent unsecured loans deals so it might be worth shopping around, not just for gifts, but for a financial answer too.