Thursday 5 December 2013

How about giving a cheap but priceless gift this Christmas?

Hallmark have carried out some interesting research, which backs up what I have always believed - some of the most cherished presents don't actually cost a penny, which is great news in these budget-conscious times. They have revealed :

- Christmas is one of the most magical times of the year for parents, but can also be an expensive concern. One in three (35%) are worried about how they will afford Christmas presents this year, with parents more than non-parents (25% against 20%) feeling an increased pressure every year to buy bigger and better presents.

- 93% of parents have concerns about friends and family spending lots of their hard earned money on them, when in fact half (50%) would prefer to get nothing at all rather than get loved ones into debt. That’s quite surprising when parents don’t practise what they preach, spending on average £30.16 per present, that’s £6.50 more than non-parents with others splashing even more cash by spending over £100 on an average present (6%).

But it seems there might be a simple solution. The research shows that almost half (44%) would much rather receive something small and thoughtful than something big and flashy with no feeling behind it. In fact 38% said they felt embarrassed when they were given an extravagant gift and one in seven (14%) have actually been offended by a gift that obviously had no thought behind it. We are all far too polite to say anything though, as over half of us (52 %) would keep quiet if we got a present we didn’t like.

Instead of a traditional Christmas present, parents ranked the following as the top 10 things they’d like to receive from friends and family:
1. To be taken out for a meal
2. A small but thoughtful token of a friendship/relationship
3. To be cooked a homemade meal
4. A big hug
5. A card which included personal, heart-felt words
6. Something homemade
7. For time to be set aside to catch up over coffee for a good old chat
8. Have someone offer to do the washing up or cleaning (ranked no.10 for non-parents!)
9. To be run a bubble bath to relax in with a good book
10. Have a long catch up reminiscing over old photos

Parents also ranked the best gift they have ever received, highlighting flashy gifts aren’t necessarily the most memorable:
1. A homemade gift from a child (parents quoting knitted scarves, knitted blankets, decorated boxes and even a handmade frog!)
2. A gift that recalled a treasured moment/ experience (a soap that was popular in their childhood, bringing back lovely memories was highlighted)
3. A hand crafted card
4. A homemade gift from an adult (photo montages were highlighted by many)
5. Something big and flashy (a diamond watch and a car were quoted!)

To support the research, Forever Friends - famous for representing friendship and love - has developed a downloadable online pledge to allow people to promise to do something as a gift for family and friends – such as babysit for an evening or make dinner, without the need to splash the cash. To download and send your free promise pledge visit or even send to a family member as a hint!


While we're on the subject of Forever Friends, they have launched two new digital products. Firstly, the Forever Friends ‘When Magic Really Happens’ storybook, available for the first time on the iPad. It is a heart-warming story of kindness, following the little bear on a magical sleigh ride adventure on Christmas Eve. Each page is enhanced with flickering streetlights and gently falling snow alongside soothing narration, charming animations and games.The iBook is designed to enhance the reader’s experience with key interactive features including, three options of reading; ‘read to me’, ‘read myself’ or ‘record me’ plus 18 mini-games, animated films with secret movie episodes and the ability to create Christmas cards to share. It is recommended for ages 4-10 years and priced  £2.99.

Secondly, the Forever Friends Christmas Animation ‘The Magical Fairy Bear’. Developed to promote Forever Friends to its worldwide strong base of fans, this four-minute 3D animation is a story about a Christmas adventure introducing new characters Fairy Bear, Santa Bear and Ballerina Bear in a heart-warming bedtime story. This animation is free to all Forever Friends fans and is available to watch via Facebook or YouTube (

For more information about Forever Friends visit

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

The twelve days of Christmas shopping at

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