The Kiwi Christmas – gift vouchers and an artificial tree?

By Wright Communications

Those are among the insights from the latest Colmar Brunton research which indicates that while 93% of Kiwis celebrate Christmas, some of the traditions we associate with it are disappearing.

Colmar Brunton CEO Jacqueline Ireland says it's not that we are becoming a nation of Christmas grinches but times are definitely changing.

"We're still into Christmas as a nation. Our survey shows 75% either like or love Christmas and only 8% aren't fussed or hate it," Ms Ireland says.

"But we are seeing some broader trends affecting the way we approach Christmas."

Two in five Kiwis will not send Christmas cards or messages this year. For those who do, Christmas cards are still preferred over the likes of email and Facebook. Those living in the upper North Island and older people without children are most likely to send Christmas cards.

"While 23% of New Zealanders will opt for a real Christmas tree, almost two thirds of us (63%) will go with the convenient, reusable, artificial option and 15% won't bother with a tree at all."

Giving and receiving gift vouchers makes 54% of those surveyed happy and even 28% of those who do not like giving gift vouchers are happy to receive them. Just 11% would prefer to avoid giving or receiving them.

"With an unlimited range of gift vouchers available today, many of which can be purchased online, and the possibility of bargains in post Christmas sales, gift vouchers have become an option that most of us are happy to give or receive," Ms Ireland says.

When it comes to gifts, Kiwis rate their parents (40%) and partners (34%) as the best Christmas present givers. But when asked who were the worst givers, parents (18%) topped that list as well, followed by in-laws (14%).

For a few tips on what not to buy this Christmas, Colmar Brunton asked Kiwis what was the worst Christmas present they had ever received. Responses included a Jar Jar Binks tooth brush, an ironing board, a fly swat, a Spice Girls CD and tea towels. Socks, handkerchiefs and underwear were by far the least popular gifts.

"The trend of men spending more than women on presents for their partners came through again this year with men planning to spend an average of $190 compared to women on $150," Ms Ireland says.

"The Christmas traditions that haven't changed are about spending precious time with family and enjoying a Christmas feast at lunch or dinner."

John Key, Richie McCaw and Stephen Fry are the celebrities those surveyed would most like to have join their family around the Christmas dinner table.

"Not surprisingly it was a different story under the mistletoe," Ms Ireland says. "Johnny Depp, Channing Tatum and George Clooney were the male celebrities Kiwis would most like to encounter under the mistletoe with Jennifer Lawrence the most popular female choice."


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