Will your Christmas present go straight in the bin…?

You’ve spent hours pondering what to buy people, even longer trudging round the shops, waiting in queues or filling in your details online – but will the person you’re giving the present to like it? shopping

If you like giving presents, then you are not alone. New research reveals 71 per cent of us like giving presents. The problem is we are not so good at receiving them. The same research shockingly reveals that 69 per cent of us will receive presents we don’t like with a quarter putting their unwanted gifts straight in the bin.

Over two-thirds of us are set to unwrap at least one item we don’t like over the festive season and over one in four of us – a staggering 15 million – admits to putting these unwanted gifts straight in to the bin.

Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Oxfam are urging customers to think twice before binning those gifts, calling on customers to ‘Shwop’ the forgotten presents and give them a new life.

The research, commissioned by M&S for its Shwopping clothes recycling initiative, also revealed that:

•69 per cent are given presents they don’t like;
•More than a quarter (27%) of the population are throwing these unwanted presents straight in to the bin;
•A third (34%) of people ‘re-gift’ the unwanted item as a new gift to someone else;
•Less than one in ten people (9%) ever considering asking the giver for the receipt so they can swap it;
•Three in five keep unwanted gifts to save people’s feelings.

Receiving unwanted gifts doesn’t make us scrooges though – in typical British fashion we’re far too polite to tell our generous benefactors that we’re not happy with their selection. Only one in ten (10%) ever tell the gift giver their true feelings.

Very sweetly, two in five will actually feign delight and adopt a very gracious ‘Present Face’ when opening those ill judged pressies in order to spare their loved ones feelings.

This comical facial expression, which feigns both delight and surprise, occurs because three quarters of the population ‘didn’t want to hurt the givers’ feelings’ and the other quarter (25%) were too embarrassed to say what they really felt.

We’re a peaceful nation – one in ten of us would also choose to say nothing in order to ‘avoid an argument on Christmas Day’.

M&S and Oxfam’s Shwopping collaboration allows shoppers to donate – or ‘shwop’ – an unwanted item of clothing that will go on to be re-sold in Oxfam, re-used or recycled, cutting waste while raising much-needed funds for the charity and cutting the amount of Christmas gifts ending up in landfill.

Adam Elman, Head of Plan A Delivery at Mark & Spencer said: “While it’s tricky to get it right for absolutely everyone, this survey shows that a shocking percentage of unwanted gifts are ending up in the bin because we feel too polite or too embarrassed to tell people we don’t like a present.

“With the UK currently sending one billion unwanted items of clothing to landfill a year, let the spirit of giving this Christmas go further by Shwopping unwanted clothes or donating unwanted gifts to Oxfam stores to help the charity alleviate world poverty.”

Further stats revealed:

•After being given an unwanted Christmas present, three quarters of the population has kept quiet because they ‘didn’t want to hurt the givers’ feelings’
•A quarter (25%) were too embarrassed to say what they really felt.
•One in ten chose to say nothing in order to ‘avoid an argument on Christmas Day’
•70% would keep unwanted gifts to spare giver’s feelings
•75% wouldn’t tell their best friends they didn’t like their gift
•1 in 4 say children the easiest buy Christmas presents for, followed by mums 1 in 5)

Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

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