RESIDENTS are throwing away millions of pounds on thoughtless Christmas presents so they don’t look ‘stingy’.

People in East Ayrshire waste over £5million on Christmas presents they suspect their loved ones won’t even like according to new research.

Now Macmillan cancer support is urging punters to make donations to charity instead of last minute buying.

Over a quarter of Scots agree they would prefer a donation made to their favourite charity than receive a gift at all. Scotland spends an average of £57 per person on Christmas presents they suspect their loved ones won’t like.

For some, the problem is even worse with nearly a quarter of people reckoning they spend more than £100 on gifts that may not be appreciated.

Over a fifth of people in the country surveyed admitted they always or often receive Christmas gifts that they will never use, and over half wish they could agree with their family and friends to spend less on Christmas presents.

The poll found many worried they would appear ‘stingy’ if they didn’t spend the cash, with almost half of people in Scotland admitting they were concerned.

Isla Dewar, Area Fundraising Manager in Scotland, says: “We’ve all received Christmas gifts that left us scratching our heads, or panic bought gifts for someone we later wonder if they’ll ever use.

“People work very hard for their money, so no one wants to see it going to waste. It’s heart-warming the research shows many people would prefer to have a donation made to charity than receive a gift.

“Christmas can be a particularly difficult time of year for people living with cancer and their loved ones.

“As a charity that relies almost entirely on donations to fund our work, we’d be very grateful if people would consider buying a virtual gift for a loved one from Macmillan this Christmas or making a donation in their name.

“If just 10 people donated £45 – less than the amount every person on average reckons they spend on unappreciated Christmas presents – we could support our frontline staff to run our Macmillan Support Line phone service for an hour.

“A donation of around £30, could pay for one Macmillan nurse for an hour, helping people living with cancer and their families receive essential medical, practical and emotional support.”

The call comes after research published early this month revealed there are now 250,000 people living with cancer in Scotland, up 15 per cent in just five years. To donate to Macmillan visit

Anyone looking for support with cancer over Christmas can access the Macmillan Online Community 2 4 / 7 at or call Macmillan’s support line on 0808 808 0000.