Families switch to Secret Santa gifting this Christmas due to cost-of-living crisis

Millions of cash-strapped Brits are planning to slash Christmas present spending this year by giving Secret Santa gifts to family members instead of buying for everyone.

Try gifting a Secret Santa present this Christmas
Try gifting a Secret Santa present this Christmas

Secret Santa – anonymously buying a gift for someone – is common among work colleagues.

More than a third of families (36 per cent) have taken part in Secret Santa with their families in the past. But as the cost-of-living crisis bites harder and the country faces a lengthy recession, more than half of all adults (55 per cent) say they are considering a family Secret Santa, and two in three (67 per cent) would feel better about their finances if they only had to buy for one person.

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The research, conducted by flexible pop-up space operator Sook, found that when it comes to spending on the immediate family, the average figure was £51.70. This was a lot higher between 18 to 24-year-olds who planned on spending an average of £79.84; and for those in the 55+ age group, it was significantly lower at £27.90.

As cost of living rises Secret Santa gifting is a great alternative

It also revealed that Secret Santa gifts can range from the most thoughtful to some of the worst.

Brits deem the best unknown presents to be a gift card (36 per cent), chocolate (35 per cent) and cash (34 per cent). On the other hand, the worst gifts are sex toys (37 per cent) and pillows with faces on them (21 per cent). And while it might seem funny to buy a joke toy or something that pokes fun at the receiver, a comical gift won’t be well received by more than one in five (21 per cent) people.

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Top ten best and worst Secret Santa gifts:

Top ten best gifts: Gift card, 36 per cent; Chocolate, 35 per cent; Cash, 34 per cent; Sweets, 19 per cent; Toiletries, 18 per cent; Candles, 17 per cent; Electronics, 13 per cent; Books and magazines, 12 per cent; Mug, 12 per cent; Clothes, 11 per cent.

What a great idea! Secret santa gifting this Christmas

Top ten worst gifts: Sex toy, 37 per cent; Pillows with faces on them, 21 per cent; Comical gift, 21 per cent; Celebrity calendar, 19 per cent; House chore items, 19 per cent; Re-gifts, 18 per cent; Yoga mat, 16 per cent; Bath bombs, 16 per cent; Gardening equipment, 15 per cent; Keyring, 13 per cent.

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John Hoyle, Founder and CEO of Sook, said: “The majority of adults in the UK will be keeping a close eye on their finances this Christmas, as many struggle to work out how they’ll afford to buy gifts for family members.

“Secret Santa can help solve this problem - by buying only one gift for an individual family member, you can save money and instead focus on purchasing something thoughtful for the person you’ve been matched with.

“Given the current economic situation, it seems like a great trend to get involved with ahead of Christmas. We like the idea so much that we will host a Secret Santa Christmas market at our Hammersmith space in December. We hope to see as many savvy Secret Santa supporters there as possible.”

Sook will host a Secret Santa Christmas Market in partnership with Hammersmith BID in Sook Livat Hammersmith between December 4 to 9, to bring together independent businesses and help people find the perfect gifts for friends and family this Christmas.