Women more guilty of regifting unwanted Christmas presents- Charity survey reveals

What counts as a thoughtful Christmas Present?


One of the most exciting things about Christmas is the presents you get from family and friends. That childlike feeling of excitement that comes with the mystery of what lies beneath the cute wrapping is all part of what makes the holiday so special, but what happens when you receive a present that’s disappointing?

According to a survey carried out by microloans website Lendwithcare.org, nearly a third of women (31%) admit to regifting unwanted presents to someone else, compared to just 13% of men. Yet nearly half (43%) of women say they would be embarrassed if they were ‘caught out’ handing on unwanted presents under the guise of a gift bought for someone else.

Regifting, the Christmas taboo, is more common than we’d like to think- given that one in five people claim they would be offended if they found themselves at the receiving end of a regifted present, and one in four balking at the thought of one of their own presents being passed on. In fact, nearly one in three women (30%) will consider ‘regifting’ this Christmas if they receive a present they don’t want.

The prevalence of regifting is not surprising when we consider that quarter (28%) of the British population are expecting at least one disappointing gift this year. And, according to website, people estimate that they waste an average of nearly £50 each on unwanted Christmas presents.

Professor Stephen Lea, Economic psychologist at Exeter University, has studied gift giving behaviour. He said: ”Regifting is the great festive unmentionable, yet it happens every year. Gift-giving is an important social process because gifts can potentially enhance or damage relationships so gift-giving etiquette is fraught with pitfalls.

“No-one wants to be caught regifting, and it’s interesting that vouchers are considered more thoughtful than cash – they never need to be regifted.  Vouchers have other advantages, too: they can be given ‘up’ a social hierarchy, for example to older family members, where cash would be felt to be inappropriate.”

The survey also tested the notion that it is ‘the thought that counts’ and challenged people to consider what counts as a thoughtful gift. More than half (53%) of people regarded a gift which benefits a worthy cause as thoughtful, while gift vouchers came a close second with 52% considering tokens for a shop or product a thoughtful choice. Not surprisingly, cash was valued less highly with 38% feeling this could make a thoughtful gift.

lendwithcare.org is a microloans website, which lets people lend money (from £15) to entrepreneurs living in poverty around the world. Uniquely combining charity gift, voucher and cash, a Lendwithcare.org gift voucher enables the recipient to make a loan to an entrepreneur living in poverty and once it has been repaid, the recipient can then withdraw the money as cash or re-invest in another budding entrepreneur time and time again.

The microloans website has been a huge hit with celebrities, who are all throwing their weight behind the scheme. Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden, is an avid supporter of the scheme. The business mogul who said she ‘loves the concept’, added that the vouchers could be a great ‘alternative to the traditional Christmas present.’Your loved one can spend their Christmas money on socks, the latest computer game – whatever they like. But not before it’s gone to the other side of the world and helped someone out. And if they prefer, they can keep lending the same money time and again, helping person after person,” she said.

Joanna Lumley has also lent her voice to the scheme. The veteran actress said she was ‘delighted to support the initiative and is featured in a short film that tells the story behind the campaign.

Gift vouchers range from £15 and are available in various designs, which can be sent via email, downloaded and/or printed as late as Christmas morning. They are available at www.lendwithcare.org

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