The festive period is one that many people around the country look forward to each year. From the smells of cinnamon and mince pies to the cosy decorations and the joys of jumper season, we need something to look forward to as the nights begin drawing in and Christmas is usually it.

But while it’s fun to start getting excited about this time, reality soon hits and the cost-of-living crisis, not to mention the greater need for reduced consumption for the planet’s sake, means many of us are thinking twice about traditions. 

In years gone by, buying gifts while moving from one high street chain to another was all part of the fun, but with little to no spare cash, that seems an unlikely event in 2022. So, do people really need that bumper pack of socks in their stockings and will another bottle of perfume truly make a positive contribution to your sister’s life?

How many Christmas presents are unwanted each year?

We’ve all been there, opening a nicely wrapped present in front of the person who bought it for us, desperately trying to hide our disappointment at what we have received. Yes, it might be a little ungrateful but there is a tendency in the UK to buy presents for people just for the sake of it.

Research has found that over 21 million Brits receive a gift they do not want, totalling over £5 billion. Given the ongoing economic crisis, that seems mighty wasteful.

There is no denying that presents are an important part of the festive period but most people would agree that spending time with family is the highlight of the season. Perhaps then, more thoughtful gifts or offering the pleasure of your time this year rather than another unwanted gift is a better route to take.

One way to give your time and still exchange presents is through a gift experience, such as a perfume-making workshop that you and a loved one can enjoy together. Not only will it add value to your life by sharing this experience, but you will also each have specially crafted scents to remind you of it throughout the year.

Upgrading gifts by prioritising quality

Rather than multiple cheap items that won’t stand the test of time, fewer but more durable and meaningful gifts can be a more sustainable choice. So rather than a shaving kit from high street brands, a more luxury choice with higher quality materials is more likely to remain in use for many years to come.

As for the socks dilemma, again, buying fewer pairs but of higher quality means they last longer and will feel more luxurious on the feet of the wearer, making them more likely to be a success.

Coping with the pressure of buying the perfect gift

Buying gifts for people can be difficult. In an ideal world, we would be able to surprise them after scouring the shops and the internet for that one thing that’s missing in their lives. Unfortunately, life isn’t quite like a Hollywood movie and as well as not having the time for such meticulous shopping, there is also a lot of stress and anxiety that comes with the pressure of the festive period.

Whether you are a parent to young children or are buying for your brother-in-law, stress about buying gifts impacts 46% of us. With the added pressure of a financial crisis playing on most people’s minds, stressing about buying gifts is something few can afford the headspace for.

Are people cutting back festive spending?

Research by RVS Media discovered that one-fifth of families are considering cancelling their Christmas altogether due to the cost-of-living crisis. The Times also reports that half of all shoppers are planning on cutting back their spending on Christmas gifts. This is an understandable approach and while others may not be prepared to cancel Christmas, cutting back on spending, like the trinkets we find in stockings, is a good place to start.

However, across the country decorations are going up early as people try to enjoy the festive season in whatever way they can. Christmas 2022 will see spending fall, but there can still be a place for gifts if they are meaningful, provide value to someone’s life, or mean spending more time rather than money, on loved ones.