NEW YORK, NY – A new survey finds that 75 percent of Americans receive holiday gifts that seem impersonal or an after-thought; suggesting that, when it comes to holiday gift giving, it’s not always the “thought” that counts.
The catalyst is likely an ever-growing gift list that stretches beyond just relatives and close friends. More than 50 percent of those surveyed indicate they also buy gifts for teachers, social groups (i.e. book clubs, mommy groups), co-workers, employees, clients and their boss.
On the receiving end, 73 percent have been caught off-guard by a gift from someone they weren’t expecting and then felt obliged to give a gift back. Of these, 12 percent admit to “gift shifting” — re-allocating a gift that was originally intended for someone else.
It is no wonder that more than three-quarters of Americans (78 percent) find holiday gift giving stressful. Social exchanges like White Elephants or Secret Santa further compound holiday angst. Of the 63 percent that attend such gifting events, 23 percent admit to recycling old gifts or unwanted items.
“It is hard to anticipate the needs, wants and desires of every person on your holiday gift list,” said Michael Stitt, senior vice president for Travelzoo. “But I believe it is impossible to go wrong with a gift voucher to a well-respected restaurant, or tickets to the hottest show in town.”
This rationale was the impetus behind Travelzoo’s Holiday Gift Guide; a collection of hand-selected travel and lifestyle deals that make perfect holiday gifts. Each one offers a memorable experience to be cherished.
“The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a study by Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a professor of psychology at Cornell University, which found people are happier and more grateful when they spend their money on experiences,” said Jaime Freedman, group publisher for Travelzoo. “We want to spark more smiles this holiday season and maybe even create a few holiday grab bag heroes with our deals.”
Nearly one-third of U.S. consumers plan ahead and keep a secret stash of holiday gifts in case they forget someone. This year Travelzoo hopes these gifters will consider stocking up on experiences that create lasting memories, instead of material possessions destined to be returned, exchanged, discarded, or mentioned on next year’s 10 Worst Gifts list. After all, who doesn’t prefer a gift voucher for a Michelin-Star dinner, a spa day, a romantic two-night escape, a kayaking adventure or tickets to Cirque du Soleil?
10 Worst Gifts:
1. Used stationary (personalized with someone else’s name
2. A coffee mug in the shape of toilet
3. Expired/stale food
4. A car duster
6. A shower curtain
7. Halloween oven mitts
8. A trash can
9. Post-It notes
10. Out-of-date calendar/planner
The survey questioned 749 US travelers Nov. 5-19 about their holiday gift giving experiences.