'Tis the season to give… something parents are very good at! - Over a third of the middle class expects to spend $250 or more on Christmas gifts per child

Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) come in 2nd place among the non-traditional gift choices for children

MONTREAL, Dec. 3, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - According to a recent CROP survey commissioned by Universitas Trust Funds, parents in Quebec are far from being penny-pinchers when it comes to Christmas shopping. The survey revealed that 34% of middle-class parents with a family income ranging from $60,000 to $80,000 spend between $250 and $500 per child on Christmas gifts.

On the other hand, more than half the parents with a family income equal to $40,000 or less intend to spend under $100 on Christmas gifts for each child. It may come also come as a surprise for some, but mothers seem to be the sensible ones when the time comes to establish a budget for Christmas gifts. Nearly half of them (46%) declared that they intend to spend less than $100 per child, compared to a 28% rate for fathers.

Cash under a Christmas tree: A gift sure to please!

As many families are struggling to make ends meet, parents-of all age groups-seem to favour gifts in the form of cash (53%), gift cards/certificates (45%) and clothing (44%) for their children. Among the younger parents (18-34 age group), over half of the respondents would like their relatives or friends to give clothes (53%) or toys (51%) as gifts, whereas most parents from the 35-54 age group would prefer their children receive cash (55%) or gift cards/certificates (43%).

Trips and RESPs: The most popular non-traditional gifts!

Trips and family activities are the first choice when it comes to non-traditional gifts, with RESP investments on their trail in second place. The survey results also revealed that house pets are a rather unpopular gift choice.

While relatives and family friends are asking themselves which gift to offer the children they love, six out of ten parents confirm that trips and family activities are the best non-traditional gifts to offer their kids. Men, however, favour the RESP as their first choice.

"In order to give a meaningful and lasting gift, it isn't surprising that some relatives are opting for non-traditional gifts like trips or RESP investments," says Martyn Huot, founder of the Families d'aujourd'hui network. "A trip will provide the kids with memorable moments they will never forget. RESPs, on the other hand, can be a great gift idea for grandparents who wish to contribute to their grandchildren's education, or for relatives who want to think outside the box and offer an original gift," concludes Ms. Huot.

Nearly 75% of the respondents added that they would be enthusiastic about the idea of a family member investing in an RESP for their child as a Christmas gift. This predilection is most significant among the parents aged between 18 and 34 years (79%). Interestingly, the survey revealed that the enthusiasm of Anglophone and Allophone respondents regarding this type of gift (86%) is greater than that of Francophone respondents (70%).

Survey results also reveal that the higher the respondent's level of completed education, the higher the interest for the RESP as a gift (62% for college graduates vs. 77% for university graduates).

Methodology behind the survey: The survey was conducted by CROP online via a Web panel (September 12-17, 2012) and was completed by 1,000 Quebec residents.

About Universitas Trust Funds

Established since 1964, Universitas Trust Funds is an RESP industry leader at the service of families across the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick. The company's not-for-profit structure enables it to concentrate all efforts on providing the highest possible scholarships. With the mission to favour the pursuit of post-secondary education through savings and scholarships or educational assistance payments, Universitas Trust Funds manages close to $800 million in assets and has paid out nearly $400 million in scholarships, EAPs and returned savings to hundreds of thousands of deserving students. To learn more about our products and services, visit universitas.ca.

SOURCE: Gestion Universitas inc.

For further information:

or to schedule an interview with Ms. Martyne Huot, please contact:

Julie Deschambault or Lydia Juliano
Matom Communication
514 891-8645 / 514 949-1446

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Gestion Universitas inc.

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