According to a survey of 1,000 customers, ME bank found that nearly 47 per cent of Aussies wish they could give less during the Christmas season, with the same number feeling pressured each year to overspend on gifts.
As a result, many said Christmas was a time of financial stress (41 per cent) and that they wish they could cut back on the gift giving to save for necessary expenditures, like bills (44 per cent).
ME bank found the average Australian will purchase 11 gifts this Christmas period, spending an average of $240 in total.
Regarding those that Aussies wish they could cull from the gift list, work colleagues (58 per cent), extended family (51 per cent) and the in-laws (30 per cent) were the top listed people.
“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,” said ME money expert Matthew Read.
“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.”
ME found 71 per cent of respondents believe it’s “totally acceptable to suggest not buying Christmas presents to people who give them to you, in order to save money”.
Mr Read also recommends sticking to strict budgets and getting to the shops early next year to avoid a last minute spend-a-thon.
“Other common tips include setting present spending limits, shopping early to reduce overspending in a rush, and arranging a Kris Kringle.”
Baby Boomers missing the mark
The survey also found that parents are falling short of expectations when it comes to giving to their children.
Fifity-six per cent of Millennials (aged 25–39) and 44 per cent of Gen Zs (aged 18–24) said they regularly receive unwanted gifts, with their parents being the worst culprits.
The in-laws came in as the second worst gift-givers.
Happily, it seems most Aussies put politeness above their wants, with 55 per cent saying they keep bad gifts in order to preserve the peace.
This was significantly higher than the 28 per cent that said they would throw it out, 21 per cent who would donate it and 7 per cent who would return it to the store for a refund.