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New Survey Reveals Christmas is the Sixth Most Stressful Life Event

LONDON, December 3 /PRNewswire/ -- It's official, Christmas is up there with divorce, moving house and changing jobs as the sixth most stressful life event. 86% of us say they find buying presents difficult and 65% find Christmas shopping a stressful experience, according to the results of a new survey of over 3,000 people, conducted by (1) - the UK's largest on-line gift giving company.

The results of the survey reveal that over 30% of us get stressed just at the mere thought of hitting the high street at Christmas, and 61% say they lack inspiration when shopping and worry that people won't like what they've bought them. 60% of us have at some time had the horrible experience of buying a gift for someone and seeing disappointment on their faces when they opened it.

Sky TV presenter and consumer specialist Karen Kay advises that this year people should "Stay at home, put their feet up and do all their shopping on the Internet. By shopping on-line you can use sophisticated search engines to tailor your shopping to your exact needs, it's all delivered to the door so there's no heavy bags to carry or parking expenses and you can do the whole thing in half an hour, leaving more time to enjoy yourself and have fun with friends and family."

In the 16-24 year old age group 62% cited Dad as the hardest person to buy for. Less surprisingly the survey also showed that men dread the idea of shopping on the high street more than women with 34.8% of men compared to 27.8% of women.

"Stress is a common theme in today's fast, high tech lifestyles but Christmas should be a time to be merry and enjoy the act of giving and spending time with friends and family" said Gary Goodman, Founder and Managing Director of "With this in mind we've just launched three new 'gift finder' services to make gift buying easy and fun and to provide a one stop shop of funky and inspirational ideas which can be tailored to individuals - especially those who are particularly hard to buy for."

The type of gift over 55% of us would most like to receive is "a surprise - something inspirational". This was followed, in order of popularity, by funky gadgets; pampering products, gift activities (e.g. Ferrari Driving or Wine Tasting) and gourmet treats. Conversely only 3.7% of us said we would prefer to receive a gift to share with the family such as a game.

Top selling gifts for Christmas 2003 to date (2) include a return to the 1970s with funky 18 inch Muppet characters, a classic Basil Brush Talking Puppet; gadgets such as the 007 Bond Zippo camera (looks like a lighter but contains a high tech mini camera) and activities such as owning a share of a racehorse which, if it's a winner, could prove quite a lucrative gift!

(1) Survey conducted on-line by

(2) Information taken from the data base

Regional breakdown of results:

- Those surveyed from the West Country have more trouble than the rest of the country buying something for Dad with 47% saying they were stuck for ideas.

- Londoners find the thought of hitting the high street the most stressful with 67% worrying the people they bought for wouldn't like the gifts.

- 64% of people in Scotland and 79% of people in Northern Ireland said they had bought a present for someone and when they opened it they could see that they obviously didn't like it.

- Sensitivity was also highlighted in the North West of England where 58% of those surveyed worried that people would not like the gifts they have bought

- The Midlands revealed the highest number of people in the country to find shopping stressful or very stressful with 65%

- People in the East of England found parents to be the most difficult to shop for. 43% had trouble choosing for dads and 40% struggled to buy presents for their mums

- 66% of people in Yorkshire and 72% of people in Wales said they find Christmas gift buying painful.

Disaster stories:

Disaster stories cited by those surveyed included one person who spent GBP200 on a bespoke mirror for his girlfriend that broke whilst he was wrapping it up. Another was from a women who recalled one Christmas where everyone was opening gifts from under the tree and she suddenly noticed that her husband's mother was sitting quietly with no presents as they had each thought the other had bought something for her! One woman bought her sister a maternity dress by accident, but the most common disaster story revealed in the survey was forgetting a special occasion such as an anniversary or leaving gift buying too late.

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SOURCE Memorise This Ltd

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