Most Popular Christmas Gifts from 1970 - 2019

Buying Christmas gifts can be the most stressful part of the festive season. Aside from divided political tensions at the family Christmas dinner... 


What should I buy my Aunt that I only see once a year? Am I doing Secret Santa for my colleagues? Did my partner really drop a hint for a ring this year?


But also, how am I going to afford these presents? 


According to Deloitte’s research, it’s estimated that Brits will spend £299 getting their nearest and dearest gifts this year, wrapping the total cost of Christmas to £597. That’s 53% of the Christmas budget on gifts alone. 


If a Nintendo Switch Lite or an IPhone 11 Pro is on their Christmas list, then you might be looking at a lot more… And that’s on top of the usual monthly spends! 


An infographic showing the break down of costs at Christmas. These costs are categorised as food and drink, gifts, socialising and travelling.


Deloitte's Christmas Spending Survey 2019 shows us the breakdown of the average Christmas budget based on a survey of 7190 people. 


And with children’s Christmas gifts becoming more expensive year on year, this could be the most expensive Christmas yet! 


According to Music Magpie, the most popular children’s Christmas gifts total an eye-watering £1465 this year! 


But it hasn’t always been so expensive. 


Over the years, due to inflation and the rapid development of technology, Christmas costs have risen exponentially - especially when it comes to Children’s Christmas gifts. 


Take a look back at the most popular Children’s Christmas gifts of the last 50 years, as well as those all important costs...


The Most Popular Christmas Gifts of the 1970s

70s Christmas Gifts


The most popular Christmas gifts of the 70s were a good mix of classic toys and brands. 


As well as more active toys like space hoppers, skateboards and pogo-sticks, you would also expect to find family board games under the tree, with Hungry Hippos, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots and Monopoly all under the tree. 


1977 was the most expensive Christmas of the decade, with the release of the Atari 2600 and Portable 8-Track Players. Which would cost around £950 today with inflation! 


It’s quite a jump from the £10.54 total cost of 1974, which worked out the cheapest year for Christmas gifts.


The Most Popular Christmas Gifts of the 1980s

80s Christmas Gifts


Iconic brands took centre stage - or centre Christmas tree - when it came to the most popular Christmas gifts of the 80s. The still iconic Rubik's cube was top of the Christmas list at the turn of the decade. 


Merchandise from Star Wars, The A-Team, Ghostbusters, Transformers and GI Joe all made it onto children’s Christmas lists, showing the growing effect of mainstream media on the toy industry. 


Other iconic toy brands including Lego, Polly Pocket, Cabbage Patch Kids and My Little Pony featured across the decade. Many of which still make great children’s Christmas presents 40 years later! 


Cheapest Christmas


The cheapest year was 1987, as Sylvanian Families topped the Christmas list. The total Christmas cost that year was £35.48, which would amount to £96.70 today. The cheapest Christmas in the last 50 years! 


The Most Popular Christmas Gifts of the 1990s 

90s christmas presents


The 90s was the decade where tech and electronics dominated Christmas lists in the UK, pulling the cost of Christmas up with it. 


It also birthed the night terrors of the Furby, which still haunts many 90s children to this day. 


The release of the Sega Mega Drive, Nintendo Game Boy, Super Nintendo, Playstation and the Nintendo 64 drove the average yearly cost of Christmas to £195.05 for that decade. 


The most expensive year was 1995 which come to a total cost of £322.12. This would look more like £601.45 in 2019 - a hefty Christmas bill with or without inflation! This was down to the release of the Sony Playstation for £287.75. 


Hopefully the savings from 1994 - with the total cost reaching a palatable £64.99 - carried over to 1995! 


Hopefully the nightmares of Furby waking up and talking in the dead of night are finally over too.


The Most Popular Christmas Gifts of the 2000s 

 00s Christmas Gifts


Perhaps the popularity of the Teksta Robotic Dog in 2000 was a sign that the turn of the century would bring an insatiable thirst for new technology.


The future had arrived! As had an average yearly cost of £479.01. 


The noughties also saw the very first Apple release, with the IPod Classic become a festive favourite in 2001 - bringing the cost up to £629.43! 



IPod Classic 2001


This was followed by the IPod Mini in 2004, the IPod Nano in 2005, the IPod Touch in 2007 and the IPhone 3G in 2008. 


The relentless yearly releases started a trend for updated Apple products dominating Christmas lists in the UK - which is still the case in 2019. Air-pods, anyone? 


The Most Popular Christmas Gifts of the 2010s 

 10s Christmas Gifts


Even though the decade’s not quite over yet, the pattern of new tech products being everyone’s most wanted christmas gift has remained throughout the… tens? Tenties? Teens? 


Whatever we’re going to call this decade, it’s been one of mass consumption, especially when it comes to new tech. The total cost of the most popular Christmas gifts is sitting around £707 so far, with 2019 set to bring the average up even further. 


The decade kicked off with the release of the IPad and was followed by the Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, Playstation Classic and various, unrelenting IPhone releases. 


In 2016, we saw a return in popularity in board games with ‘Pie Face’ being a viral hit as well as a fun game for the whole family. 


Tech Fatigue


Perhaps we’ll see other forms of entertainment start to appear under the tree as we tire of technology and crave nostalgia. 


Or perhaps we’ll all sit round the virtual fireplace whilst we send each other bitcoin investments and facetime our loved ones. Who knows what the 20s will bring us!?


The Most Popular Toys in 2019 


With the Nintendo Switch and Iphone 11 Pro topping Christmas wish lists in 2019 and the average person expecting to pay an additional £567 at Christmas, 2019 is set to be the most expensive Christmas yet! 


The top five Children’s Christmas presents in 2019 come to a total of £1465. And that’s not even factoring in the rest of the family and the dinner and the drinks and the travel… 


So how do people cover the costs? 


81% of shoppers dipped into their savings, whilst 38.5% put it on a credit card. 


In November 2019 the average credit card interest rate rose to over 20%, so it may not be the most financially savvy choice when it comes to playing Santa Claus. 


At Leap, we offer small loans from £500 up to £15,000 at a competitively low-rate, because we want to help you move to financial freedom. 


Don’t let Christmas debt stop you from thriving. 


Plan ahead or pay off your high-interest debts with a Leap personal loan. Use our loan calculator to see how much money you could potentially save on interest. 


Stay financially merry, read more on how to budget this Christmas.




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