Britain's over-50s worry most about gift buying but see 'family time' as the key to a happy christmas

Article date: 20 December 2014

  • £300 - the amount over-50s plan to spend on gifts at Christmas.
  • 30% - buying gifts for children and grandchildren creates the most stress.
  • 29% - will spend more on their children than their partners or grandchildren.
  • 26% - keeping everyone happy is the biggest concern.
  • 59% - most look forward to spending time with family over the festive period.
  • 70% - will spend Christmas at home.

Stressing over what presents to buy their children and grandchildren is the biggest festive worry for Britain’s over-50s, who are planning on spending around £300 on gifts this year, Aviva research shows*.

But it is time spent with their families that the over-50s most enjoy at Christmas (59%), compared to giving and receiving gifts (11%), the traditions of Christmas (10%) and having time off work (8%).

Over-50s’ partners come second to children on the Christmas gift list, with 29% saying their children will receive the most expensive gifts, followed by their partners (28%), and then grandchildren (20%).

The over-50s will spend an average of £109 on each of their children, compared to £76 on each of their grandchildren.

While 30% say they are concerned most about buying gifts for their children and grandchildren, a further 21% say they worry about being able to afford all the gifts they need to buy, and 26% about keeping everyone happy.

For 19% of over-50s, the quandary of what gift to give their grandchildren is overcome by just giving money. And the majority (67%) of over-50s do not plan to spend more money on gifts this year compared to last year.         

Despite the anxiety of Christmas shopping, 56% of over-50s plan to go on buying presents for their grandchildren indefinitely, and only 18% say they will stop buying presents at some point.

The majority of over-50s (70%) will spend Christmas at home, (66%) with their partners, 53% with their children, and 27% with their grandchildren. While some will also spend Christmas with other family members or friends, 8% say they will spend Christmas alone, with 8% also raising loneliness as a key concern at Christmas.

Clive Bolton, Aviva’s managing director, retirement solutions, said:

“The over-50s are used to spending their money wisely and with careful consideration, so it is no surprise to see them applying the same rigour to selecting their Christmas gifts.

“But Christmas for the over-50s is not really about the gifts, it’s all about spending time with their loved ones and it is great to see so many people will spend the festive period with their families. But we should not forget those that may be alone or feeling lonely over the holiday period.”

*Aviva consumer research was conducted by ICM Unlimited on behalf of Aviva in November 2014, with 2,000 over-50s in an online poll.

- Ends -

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