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Crunch presents a Christmas crisis

PUBLISHED: 14:30 20 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:42 25 August 2010

LOOK out for well-thumbed books and socks bearing someone else s name when you open your presents this Christmas.

LOOK out for well-thumbed books and socks bearing someone else's name when you open your presents this Christmas.

The credit crunch has finally hit Santa in the pocket, and predictions are that as people cut their shopping bills, they'll also start 'recycling' presents.

A third of people quizzed in Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich admitted to passing off their unwanted Christmas pressies as gifts to friends and family.

The general cutback means that your stocking is likely to be padded out with more satsumas, crackers and coal than ever.

You could find yourself battling tumbleweed rather than elbows and shopping bags at the mall this year as Christmas present budgets are slashed.

Shoppers in Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich are due to make a combined saving of £74 million on their normal Christmas present budget.

The average Christmas shopper once spent £360 on presents each year, but in 2008 that's expected to drop to £220.

In Greenwich that totals to a huge £42 million cutback, with Bromley shoppers making £21 million of savings, and Bexley shoppers saving £11 million for a rainy day.

Times Diary would like to condemn the unscrupulous third of readers who give unwanted presents to friends.

With the money you save, we suggest you immediately cleanse your tarnished Christmas credentials by donating a present to the Kentish Times Christmas Toy Appeal.

Children stuck in hospital wards over Christmas would love to be surprised by a toy or DVD, so why not use a little of that £74 million you've all saved to make a donation?

But please, no second hand presents, thanks.

Send your donations to the Christmas Toy Appeal, Kentish Times Newspapers, Roxby House, Station Road, Sidcup, Kent, DA15 7EJ today!

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