Half of Brits want an experience this Christmas rather than material presents

Over half of Brits would prefer to be gifted an experience – or a contribution towards an experience – rather than a material gift this Christmas, a study has found.

The top days out Brits would like to receive as a gift this festive season include food and drink experiences, wildlife experiences, and luxury getaways.

A poll of 2,000 adults, who celebrate Christmas, found that half of respondents have forgone giving presents in the past in order to top up their holiday fund.

And nearly two in five couples (38%) have already broached the subject with their loved one as Christmas Day approaches, of topping up the holiday kitty instead of getting a gift.

Of the parents surveyed, one in eight (13%) revealed their ideal gifts would be more experiences and making memories with their kids, rather than receiving a pressie.

The research was commissioned by Haven Holidays, which has also created a quiz to help those who are stuck with whether to give cash, or buy a gift.

Simon Palethorpe, managing director of the holiday park company, said: “Spending time with your loved ones on holiday creates memories that last a lifetime.

“Giving the gift of an experience this Christmas encourages everyone to spend time with one another, and could be just the pick-me-up that we need to see us through the winter months.”

The findings come after the discovery that six in ten (59%) have had to cut back on saving for their holiday, because of the cost-of-living impact.

And three-quarters (77%) of those in a relationship think topping up the holiday kitty is a less stressful option than trying to find a specific gift for their partner.

Cash or experiences are seen as easier gift-giving options around Christmas time – with more than half (52%) of those surveyed wishing more of their loved ones asked for these types of gifts, as they struggle to buy the right present.

And 78% of respondents think that gifting an experience is just as thoughtful as giving a material present.

While 56% would be happy to contribute if a loved one asked them for money towards a holiday or experience, instead of a Christmas present.

However, for the sake of flexibility and convenience, a quarter (24%) think cash is the best gift to receive from a loved one – with experiences following closely, at 21%.

This is despite a certain stigma surrounding giving cash as a present – with more than half (53%) agreeing that it is awkward asking a loved one for money for Christmas.

And only 13% would feel comfortable asking for a specific amount, preferring to let the gift-giver decide how much cash to gift them.

The study, conducted via OnePoll, found 54% of parents who would like to receive an experience-style gift from their children, feel that experiences offer an opportunity for some much-needed bonding.

And 75% cherish the memories they make with their kids while making use of their experiential gift.

Simon Palethorpe, from Haven, added: “A holiday with your partner, family, or loved ones is an amazing opportunity to get away together, explore, and experience new things.

“And we hope that thousands of Brits will be waking up to an exciting getaway this Christmas.”


  1. Food and drink experiences
  2. Seaside holiday
  3. Wildlife experiences
  4. Luxury getaways
  5. Spa and wellness days
  6. Action and adventure
  7. Guided tours around famous landmarks
  8. Lessons and courses