As we edge closer to Christmas Day, thoughts naturally turn to presents. While when we were younger a tree full of expensive presents was considered the makings of a good Christmas, as we get older what we want for Christmas begins to change.
New research by insurance provider Apia found that all older Aussies want for Christmas is a meaningful, practical gift, with a whopping 96 per cent of over 55s preferring personal, thoughtful gifts over more expensive presents.
Apia executive manager, Geoff Keogh said that a gift which is hand-made shows move love and will be better received than a pricey gift, whether it be freshly-baked goods, a hand-written card or something grown in the garden.
“The most important thing when it comes to gift-giving is to show you really know the person, or have given it some thought,” he said. “Our research tells us that when buying gifts for older family and friends, those that are bought from a store aren’t always best.”
He added: “Buying gifts for loved ones can be a challenge sometimes, especially when you have not seen them in a while. If you know their interests and hobbies, get something that they can use, and don’t be afraid to ask what they would like to receive to ensure your gift is useful.”
The report also revealed that older Aussies aren’t as driven by budgets when it comes to buying gifts fro celebrations throughout the year such as birthdays, weddings and Christmas than younger demographics. Almost half of over-55s don’t have a budget allocation for gifts, which may explain why they have the lowest average total spend per year – $811 when compared with other age groups. People aged 18 to 34 typically spend $1,133 on gifts each year, while 35 to 54-year-olds spend roughly $1,093 per year.
But despite spending the least on celebrations, older Australians are generous when it comes to festive spending, blowing more than half their annual budget for celebrations on Christmas alone – spending on average around $447 on presents.
“The research suggests that older Australians would have more to spend on Christmas gifts if they were more organised and set a budget at the start of the year,” Keogh said. “We encourage older Australians to take the time to plan ahead to avoid last minute or emotional purchases, and to stay within their budget.”
Apia offered tips for making Christmas a more joyous occasion for older loved ones, including giving hand-made gifts or experience gifts that can be shared with a friend or partner, making a donation to a charity in their name, or inviting them over for a home cooked meal. They also suggested buying something from the bush to support local communities who have been impacted by drought and bushfires this year.
“It’s a great way to support regional businesses in bushfire and drought affected areas, and small businesses in regional communities are often where you’ll find the most unique and beautiful hand-made gifts,” Keogh said.