Holiday shopping a balancing act for Brits

Dec. 4, 2011 at 1:33 PM
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LONDON, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Economic times are still tough for many British families but parents indicate they will still try to give their children -- and retailers -- a merry Christmas.

The Daily Telegraph reported Sunday a straw poll indicates parents will dole out about 112.50 pounds (about $175) per child this holiday season. The unscientific poll of 52 Mumsnet users, for ToyNews magazine, found a quarter of them said they would spend more on children's presents this year than last year.

Britons spend about a billion pounds ($1.6 billion) on toys each Christmas, the British newspaper said.

Joanna Leapman, 41, of Eynsford, Kent, said she'll be a bit more generous than the national average, but will not spend not more than 150 pounds (about $235) on each of her children, ages 6-11.

"We don't give the children their presents, Santa does. But these days, even he has to watch his costs," she said.

Gary Pogson, 36, an engineer, and his wife Sarah, 39, a full-time mother, said the Hook couple are watching their spending carefully.

"I draw up the spreadsheet with all our income and outgoings. I make sure we never go over our limits," he said.

The spending limit is higher for others. Manni Walton, 43, a Microsoft worker, said he and his girlfriend would be spending 750 pounds (a bit under $1,170) on each of their three children, ages 1-8.

The Telegraph said the Toy Retailers Association's "dream dozen" of gifts expected to be the most popular this year includes just one under 20 pounds ($31). Experian Hitwise analysts project the three most popular gifts will be the LeapPad Explorer electronic tablet, the Lego Ninjago Fire Temple and the Fireman Sam Pontypandy Rescue Set.

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