Our recent survey of 1,001 Australians revealed that while Christmas is primarily about spending time with family/friends and the Christmas food and cheer, experiences top our wish list for 2016. Our research also reveals who Australians have dubbed the worst and best gift givers, and revealed that most Aussies (even tech savvy Gen Y) would prefer to receive a traditional Christmas card in the mail, over an E-card!

Family and food what we most look forward to


Christmas is a season to gather loved ones together after a long year, and Australians are prioritising time with family and friends (70%) over gifts and shopping (24%). Christmas food and celebrations (43%) and the mood/Christmas cheer (34%) is also what Aussies are looking forward to this Christmas. Along with the celebrations, two in five (39%) are also looking forward to Christmas shopping, gift giving and the Boxing Day sales.

Females (29%) are twice as likely as males (14%) to look forward to shopping and gift-giving. Comprising most of our current workforce, it is not surprising that Gen Y (31%) and Gen X (35%) are more likely to look forward to time off work than the Baby Boomers (13%). On the other hand, more Baby Boomers (70%) are most looking forward to spending time with their family, compared to 56% of Gen Y and 52% Gen X.

Experiences top Australia’s 2016 wish list

Experiences (12%) are our top most hoped for gift this Christmas. While technology (11%) closely follows, as the most preferred gift this Christmas, it has dropped since 2013 when it topped the list (18% hoped most for a technological gift in 2013).

Of those who selected ‘other’, two in five (42%) did not want anything in particular for Christmas. 17% also hope more for time spent with family, peace or happiness over Christmas. 10% prefer money or gift cards, giving themselves the freedom to choose their own present.

“The most hoped for present this Christmas for 4 in 10 Australians is…nothing in particular” stated Mark McCrindle. “It seems that Australians feel that they have enough stuff with “experiences” coming in second” he said.

“In an era of technology saturation, even early adopting Australians, while still keen on technology have seen this category drop significantly down the wish list from almost 1 in 5 a few years ago to just 1 in 10 today” Mark McCrindle continued.

The best gift givers … and the worst

It’s official – spouse/partners (28%) and mums (28%) are the best Christmas givers. While dads made the top 3, just 6% of Australians think they give the best Christmas presents.

Extended family members like aunts and cousins have been dubbed the worst gift givers (15%), perhaps because Christmas may be the only time of year when Australians see these extended family members. A lack of personal interaction could be the reason that work colleagues (10%) and boss’ (7%) also made the list of worst gift givers.

So what are the dodgy Christmas we receive? Well previous research has showed that fridge magnets (how many can one use?), ornamental figurines (special mention for the ones that have batteries and make sounds), handkerchiefs (in an era of tissues), soap packs (does anyone actually use those loofahs?) and potpourri fall into the worst present categories. Our previous research has also showed that a quarter (23%) of us would re-gift a dodgy present! That’s a lot of bath salts circulating!

The younger a person is, the more likely they are to consider their mother to be the best Christmas gift giver (38% Gen Y compared to 21% Gen X and 15% Baby Boomers). Conversely, more than one in three (36%) Baby Boomers consider their spouse or partner to be the best present givers, compared to 1 in 5 (21%) Gen Y’s and one in four (26%) Gen X’s.

Christmas cards are (still) in

Australians are twice as likely (41%) to prefer receiving a traditional Christmas card in the mail than a Christmas E-card (21%). This is even true for tech-savvy Gen Y, with more than a third (36%) preferring to receive a Christmas card in the mail, than an E-card (26%).

The sentimental value of receiving a traditional Christmas card in the post is reflected among the Baby Boomers, with almost half (48%) indicating that they would prefer receiving a Christmas card in the mail than an e-card when compared with Gen Y (36%). On the other hand, tech-savvy Gen Y Australians indicated that they would somewhat or much prefer Christmas ecards (26%) than their older counterparts from the Baby Boomers (15%).

Merry Christmas from McCrindle!