Christmas present pecking order revealedWe'd rather buy gifts for pets than in-laws

10 December 2011

Christmas tree and presents

Make sure your home contents insurance covers the cost of Christmas

British shoppers have a strict pecking order in mind when it comes to Christmas gift buying - according to new research by More Than. 

And it seems many people make surprising choices, ranking their pets higher than some human family members.

Children come first

As expected, first in the present priority list come 'the children'. Their Santa sacks will be bulging with the majority of Christmas spending, as the average parent plans to spend £104 on each of their offspring. 

In the North East this rises to £165 per child, which is almost double the average spend for parents in the South East (£84).

Women get bigger presents than men

After children, women can expect to unwrap the priciest gifts under the tree this Christmas. 

According to the research, both men and women generally spend more money on their mothers, sisters, mother-in-laws and grandmothers than on their male counterparts.

Britons prefer four-legged friends

While mother-in-laws may beat father-in-laws in the present stakes, both are usurped in our affections by furry family members. Some 52% of those questioned admitted that, if given the option, they would rather buy a present for their pet than an in-law.

However, by Christmas Eve, the majority of people (69%) will have given in to family duty and spent, on average, £50 on gifts for their in-laws.

And fortunately, Fido the dog is not forgotten - he can expect around £16 worth of toys and treats to be waiting under the tree.

Community spirit

It seems that these austere times haven't completely stifled Christmas community spirit, either. Despite tight budgets, 20% say they will pop over to their neighbour's homes with Christmas presents this year.

In addition, a third of those with children at school will give a 'thank you' Christmas gift to their child's teacher.

Make sure your Christmas is covered

With presents under the tree, festive food in the freezer and a house full of decorations, it's likely that the total value of your home's contents will increase over the Christmas period.

It's really important your home insurance cover accurately reflects this increase. If you end up being under-insured, you risk not getting the full pay-out in the event that you do need to make a claim.

Some home contents policies automatically up the value of the cover they provide during the festive season - so check to see if yours falls into this category.

If it doesn't, you may need to contact your home insurer yourself to temporarily up your contents value limit.

Home security tips

Of course, prevention is better than cure. Here are three tips to guard against being a victim of crime this Christmas:

1. Don't leave presents in view, and close curtains and blinds during the long, dark December evenings.

2. If you're out in the early evening hours, put a light on a timer so it looks like someone is home.

3. And if you plan to be away over the holiday period, make sure your home is secure. Exterior doors should be fitted with locks conforming to the British security standard, and windows with key-operated locks. Cancel the milk and papers, and if possible, ask neighbours to keep an eye on your home.

More on this...

  • - our one-stop guide to getting through this festive season.
  • Which? recommended providers - the best policies on the UK home insurance market.
  • Claiming on contents insurance - how to make a successful claim on your home insurance policy.