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The worst places to hide Christmas presents?

Christmas pajamas
  • Storage spaces outside the home (e.g. cars, sheds, garages) may have lower insurance limits
  • A quarter of UK adults were unable to find presents after hiding them away
  • A third of UK adults expect to have bought gifts for friends and family by the end of November
  • One in 10 UK adults say they will not be buying any Christmas presents this year

Aviva is urging people to think carefully when hiding Christmas presents, in case burglars are on the look-out for a festive haul.

A new study from the insurer suggests we are creatures of habit, with the most common places for stashing gifts revealed as: on top of / inside wardrobes (27%), under beds (17%) and in lofts / attics (12%).

In addition, 8% of gift-givers hide items in garages or sheds, while 7% keep presents in their cars, ahead of the big day.

Aviva is warning of the potential perils of hiding items in popular places.

Sarah Applegate, Head of Data Science for Aviva says: “There are a few things to consider when it comes to hiding Christmas presents – and not just making sure that prying eyes can’t find them! Sadly burglaries tend to increase during the darker months, and If presents are stored in ‘traditional’ places such as in wardrobes or under beds, they may be easier for burglars to find.”

There are also important considerations if people store presents outside the main home. Insurance limits for items in outbuildings and vehicles are often lower than for possessions inside the home. This could mean if items are stolen from these spots, people may not be able to claim for the full cost of their gifts, if the value is above the limit for these locations.

Sarah Applegate adds: “It’s also advisable that more valuable items are stored inside the main home, rather than a car, shed or garage. Contents in outbuildings usually have an upper limit of between £1,500 and £2,500 for theft claims. Contents limits on motor insurance policies tend to be lower than this – usually ranging from between £100 to £1,000, depending on the policy – so customers should consider carefully if sheds and cars are really the best places to store their purchases.”

The most popular hiding places are revealed as follows:

The most popular Christmas present hiding places

Gift hiding place

Percentage of people hiding Christmas presents here

On top/ in wardrobe


Under bed


Loft / attic


In suitcases


In garage / shed


In car


At a friend's / relative's house


At work


Kitchen cupboards


Basement / cellar


The Aviva research suggests some people are a bit too good at hiding Christmas presents, to the extent that 38% of gift-givers have forgotten where they hid an item. Thankfully most people (74%) found the missing presents before December 25th, but a quarter didn’t remember in time – and a small proportion of these gifts (8%) were never found.

The study also finds many people have bought and hidden presents already this year. A quarter of UK adults (24%) said they had already bought Christmas presents by the start of November, with a further third (32%) expecting to have done their shopping before the beginning of December.

On the flipside, one in 20 people (5%) say they leave their shopping until the week before Christmas and one in 10 say they don’t plan to buy any Christmas gifts at all this year.

The average amount people intend to spend on Christmas presents is £585, although one UK adult in 10 (11%) expects to pay more than £1,000 in total.

When asked the most they had paid for a single Christmas present, the average amount was £533, although one in 10 had spent more than £1,000 on one gift.

Further information:

  • Single item limits: Most home contents insurance policies will have a “single item limit” which is the maximum a customer can claim for a single item on a policy. If a customer has an item worth more than this limit, most insurers will allow cover, but the item(s) must be listed separately on the policy.
  • 2019 data from the insurer reveals UK home theft claims increased by 10% during October and November, compared to the monthly average between January and September that year.
  • While theft claims fell in 2020 when people were spending more time at home, Aviva reports that they increased by 33% between January 2021 and September 2021.


Sarah Poulter

UK External Communications

Notes to editors:

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