Skip to Content

Mother’s Union Christmas List Survey

 A public opinion survey on behalf of the Mother's Union.

Date Published: 05 Nov 2012

Categories: Business | Consumer | Public and communities | Retail & Consumer | UK



As we enter the most commercialised time of the year, with family finances under pressure, Mothers’ Union is calling on parents to ditch the Christmas list for their children, as it launches Labelled for Life, its new guide on how to deal with the commercial influences on family life.
To mark the launch, Mothers’ Union commissioned a survey into Christmas pressures on parents which shows that 72% of parents have bought their children a gift that was on their Christmas list which they really couldn’t afford. An identical number (72%) of parents have worried about receiving their bank and credit card statements in January. In addition, 46% of parents have taken out a loan, or got themselves into financial difficulty to give the family a good Christmas.  
Many parents (36%) also feel pressured at Christmas into buying presents which they believe to be inappropriate to the age of their children, with 59% agreeing that they have bought their child a gift from their Christmas list which was unsuitable for them. This pressure is particularly marked in larger families: 68% of parents with more than three children have bought their child a gift that was on their Christmas list that they didn’t think was suitable for their age group, compared to 55% of parents with one child. 
“The pressure this brings to bear on family relationships and happiness is enormous” said Reg Bailey, chief executive of Mothers’ Union, “Our survey shows that Christmas is the time of year when parents feel most pressurised into buying their children gifts which are over their budget, or inappropriate to their age. We want to ensure parents have the confidence to manage Christmas without debt or the stress of disappointing their children. The majority of parents we spoke to (69%) said that Christmas lists create disappointment for children if they do not receive all the gifts that they have asked for, We wouldn’t want to spoil the traditions of Christmas, but we are asking parents to consider ditching the Christmas list specifically to help reduce this sense of disappointment at what should be a time of happiness for all the family. Our new Labelled for Life guide aims to give parents the confidence they need to handle issues around the commercialisation they face as a family” 
Size Matters
Size seems to matter in the quest to give the kids a good Christmas: 84% of parents have bought their children extra Christmas presents at the last minute because they didn’t think the pile looked big enough.  
Pressure from All Sides
“Our findings show that an overwhelming 89% of parents believe that Christmas is too commercialised, and 83% feel that for most children in the UK, Christmas is about the joy of receiving rather than the joy of giving. Our role, as Mothers’ Union, is to speak up for parents asking for industry and government to hear their concerns, and to help support and equip families to help them manage the commercial pressures they face, particularly in these economically difficult times.” 
The survey was carried out by ComRes, who  interviewed 1,110 parents with children under the age of 18 online from 17th to 21st October 2012. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. 

View Press and Polls

Read More