“I hope you like it!”: Best and worst Christmas gifts according to Brits

Christmas is here again, and with it, so is the shopping frenzy. The same questions arise every year, what should I buy for my family members? Will they like it? It is no surprise that we don’t always hit the nail on the head when it comes to presents.

We were curious to know what Brits do when they receive something they don’t like, and most importantly, who is the main culprit for bad gifts? We surveyed 1,500 people to find out.

The worst gifters: Friends and husbands

A whopping 91.8% of British people say that they have received a terrible gift at least once in their life. They did not say “bad”, but terrible. Either some ugly clothes or a reeking perfume, almost 92% of Brits have thought at some point “what were they thinking when they bought this?” when opening the box. But we will get the worst gifts later. For now, we will focus on who are the worst gifters.

According to British women, their male significant others are the ones who cannot get it right. Husbands and boyfriends were voted by 27.9% as the worst gifters, followed by sons and daughters (26.5%). Friends also made it to the top 3, with over a quarter of women (25.5%) n saying their friends are really bad at getting them something they like.

Most men (29.4%) picked their friends to be the worst at getting them gifts. Women said that husbands and boyfriends are the worst gifters, but girlfriends and wives are not much better at it: they got the second place after 22.3% of men affirmed that female partners are terrible gifters. Even when parents put their heads together, they usually miss, as 20.7% of men voted their parents as the really bad gifters.

Surprisingly, mums make fourth place as worst gifters for both men (20.3%) and women (19.2%). Maybe the person who knows you best in the world does not know you that well after all and next year you will need to drop some clearer hints.

Best and Worst Gifts By Brits

The truth revealed: Best and worst gifts

When asked about the worst present they have ever received, the first option was widely chosen by 37.2% of surveyed people: horrendous clothes that are not their style. However, for the rest of the options Brits showed some discrepancies and voted for a wide variety of options. The most popular ones, although in very low percentages, were something they already had (6%) and perfume (5%).

For the best gifts there seems to be a bit more consistency: seems like Brits are avid travelers, because 16% of them agreed the best gift they have ever received was a trip. In second place (13%), Brits voted for something that no amount of money can buy: being able to spend time with friends and family. With 12% of the votes, gaming consoles came in third.

Secretly returning a horrible gift: Who does it more?

We wanted to know which percentage of the British population has ever returned a gift they did not like without telling their gifter. It turns out that there is a difference between genders and also differences across UK countries.

Women return gifts secretly more often: approximately 26% confess to doing so. On the other hand, only 19% of men admit that they return gifts secretly.

There were also some differences between the different countries in the UK. Scottish and Welsh people are the most inclined to return a gift sneakily. So, if you are giving a present to a Scottish or Welsh person this Christmas, you might want to keep the receipt in the box, as almost 30% confessed that they have secretly returned gifts they did not like.

Scotland and Wales are followed by England, where 23% of the people confess to have returned a gift. The most upfront people are in Northern Ireland, as only 19% have ever returned a gift behind the gifter’s back.

But how likely are people to actually tell you when they don’t like a gift? The truth is, not very. Over 80% of men and 84% of women confess that they have accepted a gift they didn’t like and did not say so.

Regifting Christmas Presents

Women and the Welsh: Queens and kings of regifting

We also asked Brits if they had ever regifted something they did not like. It was shocking to find that 39% of men confess having done so and almost 60% of British women regift presents they don’t like.

We also divided the answers by UK countries and found out that over 60% of Welsh people also regift. More than half of English and Scottish people (52%) also regift presents that they don’t like. The most honest people are the Northern Irish: only 42% of them give presents they have received from another person.


On December 5th, 2022, we surveyed 1,500 British people and asked them about previous Christmas gifts they had received. Female participation (60%) was slightly higher than male participation (40%). People from all four UK countries participated in the survey.

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Chris Taylor
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Last updated: April 20, 2023

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