Royal Mail Predicts ‘Take-Back Tuesday’ Will Be The Busiest Day For Returning Christmas Gifts

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Royal Mail Predicts ‘Take-Back Tuesday’ Will Be The Busiest Day For Returning Christmas GiftsRoyal Mail predicts that ‘Take-back Tuesday’ – the first working day in the New Year – will be the busiest day for online shopping returns through the post as shoppers rush to send back unwanted Christmas gifts.

On Tuesday 3 January, returns of online purchases are predicted to jump by more than 50 per cent in a single day, versus the average number of return parcels per day in December.

Today’s prediction is based on the number of returns parcels handled by Royal Mail through its Tracked Returns service, which is used by more than 1000 e-retailers for the return of unwanted online purchases.

Last year, the month of January saw the highest returns volumes of the financial year.

The ease of returning online purchases is still a crucial part of the online shopping experience with 38 per cent of online shoppers saying a free returns policy is likely to increase their online shopping frequency.

Clothing and footwear are most likely to be returned. Royal Mail’s Delivery Matters – Returns Special found that 30 per cent of online shoppers when questioned said they returned women’s clothes, 17 per cent sent back men’s clothes, 16 per cent returned footwear and 7 per cent decided to return children’s clothes.

Royal Mail recently launched a new Returns Portal, to help online retailers better manage customer returns, by giving them full visibility of items as they make their way back to warehouses and stores.

Balls Send Us Round The Bend When Wrapping Presents

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balls send us round the bendNew research released today by Royal Mail reveals that The Beautiful Game is the biggest foe at Christmas, as a ball tops the league of the most difficult presents to gift-wrap.

The Royal Mail study - which asked over 2,000 people across the UK to choose the items they felt were the hardest to wrap - found that humble ball was the most challenging for over a sixth (15.6%).

It was followed closely by a bottle (11.5%), teddy bear (10.3%) and lamp (4.6%) as items most likely to leave us crying into ripped wrapping paper. Royal Mail commissioned the research ahead of the last posting date for First Class mail on Wednesday 21 December.

The top ten most difficult presents to wrap are:

Ball (15.6%)

Bottle (11.5%)

Teddy bear (10.3%)

Lamp (4.6%)

Ornament (4.5%)

Round tin of sweets (4.4%)

Racket (4%)

Golf club (3.5%)

Handbag (2.8%)

Large bowl such as a fruit bowl (2.8%)

Age and location plays a factor in dictating which items people found the most difficult to master. Those aged between 18 and 34 year-olds admitted that they find a bottle the biggest hurdle, while those over 35 years-old felt that a ball was the worst item to tackle. People in Wales (23%) and Yorkshire (14%) struggle the most with a bottle.

To help alleviate the stress this festive period, Royal Mail has partnered with gift wrapping expert, Jane Means, to show how you can wrap tricky items without scoring an own goal. Jane, who features in a special video, demonstrates a hat-trick of gift wrapping techniques – gather, pleat and pillow – that can be used to wrap any present.

Jane Means, who has wrapped presents on behalf of the Queen, said: “Christmas can be such a manic time that wrapping presents can sometimes feel like a chore. But it needn’t be! I want to help people so that the act of wrapping becomes as enjoyable as opening them.

“I’m not surprised that a ball has been highlighted as the hardest-to-wrap present. Not only do you have to contend with the spherical shape, but it also quite a cumbersome object that can roll off the table. My top tip for this, and any other tricky presents, is to keep it simple and stick to three simple techniques – gather, pleat and pillow. By following these methods you can wrap any present from a lamp to a large bowl.”

Stephen Agar, Managing Director, Consumer and Network Access, Royal Mail, said: “With Christmas just over a week away, thoughts are now turning to wrapping. It can be daunting being faced with an array of different shaped and sized presents. We hope that these quick and simple techniques will help alleviate any stress and make the process part of the exciting build up to Christmas.”

Watch Jane demonstrate the gather, pleat and pillow gift-wrapping techniques here:

The Truth About Christmas Cash

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The Truth About Christmas CashMore than half (54%) of all British adults have confessed to putting the money they receive at Christmas straight in their wallet which inevitably means it is spent on groceries, bills and other essential living expenses.

A survey of 1,995 UK adults, carried out by One4all, the Post Office gift card, revealed that as a nation, we are gifted an average of £300 at Christmas - but Brits will spend £242 on average on living costs and essentials, such as groceries and bills.

The top purchase made by 26% of Brits with their Christmas money was purchasing food. Almost a quarter (23%) of the nation also confessed to using it to pay bills, while 1 in 10 even admitted to using the money they had received to buy Christmas presents for other people.

26% called on the Christmas cash they had received to pay for unexpected costs that had arisen.

Aoife Davey, group marketing manager at One4all Gift Cards, said: “It’s clear that for over half of the nation, it is too tempting to end up putting the money we receive at Christmas straight into our wallets. It’s then all too easy to use this when doing a supermarket shop or for handing over when making daily essential payments and purchases.”

The research shows that 1 in 10 spend their gifted cash on essentials such as these, even when the giver had instructed them to use it to buy a treat for themselves.

Comparatively, almost half of British adults said they don’t spend the gift cards they receive in this way - opting to instead use them to buy treats for themselves - and 1 in 4 (23%) respondents said they are more likely to use gift cards to buy things they actually want, instead of using them to pay for living expenses and boring essentials.

“To avoid this happening, Britons should aim for a compromise. Gift cards are a great way of gently forcing recipients to properly treat themselves and buy something that they will really be able to enjoy. But you don’t have to completely restrict choice - multi-store gift cards mean the recipient can choose from thousands of places to use them.”

Hampshire's Household Waste Recycling Centres Ready For Christmas

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household wasteAll of Hampshire’s 24 household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) are open up until Christmas, closing for just two days from 4pm on Christmas Eve and opening again at 9am on the Tuesday bank holiday on 27 December.

Councillor Rob Humby, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council, said: “Christmas usually means more waste – whether it's packaging, or disposing of old items which have been replaced by new versions. With the largest network of HWRCs in the country, open seven days a week except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, Hampshire’s residents are able to take their household waste, free of charge, to their local site any time between 9am and 4pm.

“I’m pleased to say that over 60 per cent of the waste residents bring to these sites is recycled. At home, people can use their own recycling bins for recyclable materials, including biscuit and sweet tins, delivery and toy boxes, cards and envelopes.”

Christmas recycling tips:

• Break down larger cardboard boxes for your recycling bin, or take them to the HWRC

• Remember that most wrapping paper can’t be recycled because it contains other materials such as plastic or foil

• Please make sure all paper that goes into the recycling bin is clean, so used paper plates can’t be recycled • Please give cans and tins a quick rinse before putting them in the recycling

• Remember empty plastic bottles and aerosols from the bathroom as well as the kitchen are also very welcome in the recycling bin

• Check out the Smart Living website for handy hints on how to reduce your waste and save your family money.

To check which items are accepted at HWRCs, please go to:

There is a charge for non household waste items which are expensive to dispose of, including bricks and rubble, plasterboard and cement-bonded asbestos.

Small businesses are now able to use Hampshire’s HWRCs on a commercial basis. More information for businesses is available at: