The true price of…a gift

xmas-presentToday’s blog post is completely unrelated to virtual assistance / small businesses / productivity but it’s good to mix things up a little and the theme of the post is relevant to pretty much, anyone.

For clients on retainers, Absolute VA offers a ‘Gifts with a Difference’ package; it’s a list of inspirational gift ideas for those last minute panic moments. Or for when you just have no idea what to buy Tony in the work Secret Santa.

Kirsty set about composing this list. Some are gifts she has given or received, some are suggestions from friends and family. A number of great suggestions sprang to the forefront of people’s minds instantly but this wasn’t the case for the majority.

To set the scene…

Average spend of gifts*:

  • The UK as a whole spends circa £24.4bn
  • The average per family is £800
  • £62 is the average spent on a present to a friend
  • For birthdays the average present amounts to £175 for a child
  • £47 for an adult

To summarise, we spend a lot of money on presents. Obscene amounts on presents. Sometimes we want to, sometimes we feel obliged to. Either way, money gets spent. But that’s ok. It’s ok if the receiver remembers the present for years to come.

From Kirsty’s research (albeit limited, the whole 64m population weren’t polled), most people couldn’t remember thoughtful gifts.

The request was simple:

“Reply with your top unusual or thoughtful gifts that you have given or that you gave, excluding expensive gifts such as 5* hotel breaks, iphones, jewellery and watches”.

It was startling to hear just how many people said they couldn’t think of any. Which is really disappointing. It’s a great rush to open presents but isn’t it a shame that the memory doesn’t last longer.

One friend had a great idea,

“I gave someone the gift of nothing. An empty plastic container with a letter that read, Congratulations, you have received the gift of nothing. Absolutely nothing. The ultimate in minimisation. Nothing is precious, nothing is simple. Open the pack to be enthralled as nothing happens. Allow nothing to flow through your mind and calm your soul. Saviour the moment and you’ll discover that nothing is better than something. My friend framed it and said it’s still the best present she’s ever had.”

Sounds great. Original. Memorable.

This isn’t a new thought or perspective, we’re all aware of the costs but it is a gentle reminder to go steady in the run-up to Christmas. Perhaps don’t go so hard on yourself, or give yourself as much guilt to find the ultimate presents because, largely, no-one remembers them anyway. Sorry.


* These figures have been taken from top page Google Results. If you would like like to know the exact locations these figures were taken from, get in touch, we would be happy to point you in the right direction.

** We do know the lady pictured above, it’s Kirsty’s mum in all her Christmas cheer. She’d be just as happy without a single present, mind.