The nightmare before Christmas - the pain and pleasure of Christmas shopping

10th Dec 2011
The nightmare before Christmas - the pain and pleasure of Christmas shopping

This is the overriding finding of a survey of shoppers conducted by Bath Tourism Plus into attitudes towards Christmas shopping.

However, even in these recession stricken times most people liked being able to indulge at Christmas and half of them found Christmas shopping enjoyable. Asked what they liked about the festive season they mentioned the lights,  the laughter,  getting together with family and friends, traditional entertainment, carol singing, Christmas Markets, mulled wine and midnight mass.

Stress in finding that surprise for loved ones

From the 300 people who conducted the survey more than half found that buying presents was stressful (55 per cent). Immediate family and husbands or wives are the hardest to buy for (44 per cent) and in laws can be tricky too; 13 per cent said they were difficult to buy for. There were no surprises in the sex of shoppers with more than three quarters (84 per cent ) being female and middle aged, 24 per cent of respondents were aged 35 to 54.  The budget for Christmas gifts varied with 13 per cent planning to spend £500 or more this year and nearly 13 per cent less than £100.  Nearly a third (30 per cent) of people said they would expect to take three or more sessions to get their shopping done, travelling 20 miles or more to go to their preferred shopping destination (31 per cent).

Make Do and Mend


Time is not just spent on shopping with 44 per cent saying that they spend at least three hours wrapping and labelling gifts.  A surprising 23 per cent of people said that they made their own gifts and it may not all be over for the high street as 12 per cent more people said they prefer to buy presents in the shops rather than online.  It is not all pain, 70 per cent of people said they found buying gifts enjoyable.

Respondents were asked for their top tips which ranged from making plenty of coffee stops, to starting in the January sales. Other suggestions included getting well organised with your list, buying experiences rather than stuff, starting early and avoiding shopping at weekends.

Bath Christmas Capital of the West

Bath welcomes an additional 300 000 shoppers to the city during their traditional Christmas market which runs this year until 11th December.  With 130 wooden chalets selling unusual and hand crafted gifts against the backdrop of Bath Abbey this is Christmas shopping as it used to be.  Bath is often called the “Christmas capital of the west” with its Georgian backdrop, festive lights, cosmopolitan cafes and combination of leading high street brands and independents, all within a square mile. The Bath Business Improvement District organised a Christmas Lights switch on ceremony with John Cleese attracting 9000 people on 17th November.

Bath is ideal to work though the list of most wanted gifts and with extended store opening hours and the convenient park and ride service taking visitors right into the city centre. This is a popular time of year to combine some gift buying with a festive break and there is lots to see and do in Bath including the traditional panto at the Theatre Royal and a magical carpet of lights at the Holburne Museum.  For Christmas 2012 Bath has launched a new programme “Bath in a Box” packaging up experiences that are unique to the city.


Also in England today, City.Mobi is celebrating the success of its new guide to Bath.

City.Mobi offers the most comprehensive mobile travel guides available, with over 800 cities in 200 countries listed. Each is developed by the City.Mobi team to combine into a single global travel directory.

However, each city retains its own mobile identity via a dedicated domain. Already on offer are Brussels.Mobi, Paris.Mobi, Sanfrancisco.Mobi and Sydney.Mobi. is the latest in this illustrious line up, offering click to call functionality – which means no scribbling down telephone numbers.

Most entries are also linked to websites where users can quickly access more detailed information if needed.

Other key features include information on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, entertainment, nightlife, shopping, and transport.

City.Mobi guides include user reviews and traveller utilities such as a translation guide, currency converter, news and local weather guide.


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