Scrooge headed down under

Rising rents and interest rates are conjuring the modern-day Scrooge this year, as people find themselves less able to splurge at Christmas, according to a survey by DHL, the world’s leading express and logistics company.

The poll of almost 600 DHL customers showed that spending on Christmas is well down on last year with just 44 per cent willing to splash out on an expensive gift for loved ones, compared to 56 per cent the previous year.

Many blamed high living costs for a miserly yuletide and it seems no one trusts their loved ones to buy them a present they like.

“As well as the Scrooge-effect hitting shoppers, there seems to be no trust in what people expect to receive from their nearest and dearest this year,” says DHL Express Australia’s Marketing Manager, Helen Price.

“Practical gift vouchers are what people want to receive most,” she says.

Also high on the wish list are gadgets. Fourteen per cent of respondents would like to receive ‘big people’ toys such as computers and electronic accessories.

Money is also a popular choice – another safe bet for everyone.

Unfortunately, charities also appear to be sorely impacted with just four per cent of respondents indicating they would like to receive a gift from Oxfam or a similar charity.

Instead, most opted for practical presents such as clothes and accessories, or household items to fill the stockings on Christmas morning.

But while spending is down, however, the traditional Christmas break is well and truly entrenched in the Australian psyche, with many Australians looking forward to a long break, as businesses shut down for as long as two weeks for an extended celebration.

The DHL survey showed that 65 per cent propose to close over Christmas, with 28 per cent planning two weeks off and 23 per cent one week.

“And for those last minute shoppers, DHL is open for business right through Christmas and New Year, making shipping gifts this holiday season a completely stress-free experience.

Just call 13 14 06 to schedule a pickup and we’ll come right to your door to collect all your holiday packages,” Price says.

DHL is gearing up its workforce across Australia and around the world as it busiest days of the year approaches.

In fact, in December last year, DHL Express shipped over 400,000 shipments in Australia, 12 per cent more than in January 2007 despite the fact that it was a short working month.

Finally, if you are sending a parcel this Christmas, below are DHL’s Top Tips for Packaging to ensure your package arrives safely.

The dos

Choose the size of the package according to its content. Under-filled boxes could collapse; overloaded ones may burst.

Always use high quality materials for your shipments.

Choose boxes made of corrugated cardboard, with good quality outer liners.

Use cushioning materials to stop your packaging contents from moving.

Repack your gifts properly. Many goods sold in attractive packaging may not be suitable for shipping.

Protect your data discs, audio and video-tapes with soft cushioning material.

Complete the address clearly, using uppercase letters.

The don’ts

Do not use bags made of fabric or cloth.

Do not over seal your package. Remember that all shipments can be opened by customs authorities for inspection.

Do not use cellophane tape or rope to seal your shipment.

Do not consider “Fragile” and “Handle with care” labels as a substitute for careful packaging. They are only appropriate for information purposes

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