Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

“Oh just what I wanted, a voucher!” Not.:

Have we lost the science and art of true gift giving?
By Sue Evans
Date: December 18 2012
Editor Rating:

“So, little Emily, what would you like for Christmas?” asks Santa.

“A voucher, Santa.”

You’ve probably got to be over a certain age to realise that conversation doesn’t quite gel.

But if you’ve ever wondered idly what’s wrong with our country, you need look no further than the survey put out by the Australian National Retailers Association.

More Australians would rather receive a ‘voucher’ for a present than anything else.

A voucher! I ask you.

I’m old enough to remember that one of the great joys of Christmas, or any time of gift giving, was being creative, as well as strategic, about what to buy your loved one or friend. It was both an art and a science.

Now, everyone wants a voucher.

The Retailers say that almost 20% will buy one and more than one-third of us want one. And it’s not as if it’s just some lazy men took part in the survey either. It turns out it’s the same for both men and women – and, wait for it, all age groups.

That means even older mums like me (who’s also a grand mum) reckon they’d rather have a voucher than something where somebody has thought about it, spent time buying it (either online or in one of those old fashioned buildings called a ‘shop’), wrapped it and tied it in ribbon.

And it will be absolutely no surprise to people of my generation to learn that we Aussies are not alone in this. Oh no. It turns out 81% of American shoppers also want vouchers. 81%. I looked at it three times with and without my glasses. 81%! How bereft of imagination are they, and how long will it take us to get to that level?

Oi. Oi. Oi.

But, no fear, says the nice woman who is head of the Retailers Association. Aussie retailers have a “selection of gift ideas and voucher options” to suit everyone. Of course.

(A final word to my nine grandkids in case they’re reading this: I’d rather have nine handkerchiefs or nine handtowels or even nine teatowels than a voucher. Any day. And if you give me a voucher there’ll be none of my special mince pies for you!)

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