UP to £24.7m could be spent this Christmas on unwanted gifts.

New research by Macmillan Cancer Support show people in the West Midlands spend an average of £52.15 on Christmas presents they suspect their loved ones won’t like.

The extent of this wastage became clear when British adults were asked to estimate how much they spent on Christmas gifts people might not like.

 For some, the problem is even worse – around a fifth of people in the West Midlands (22 per cent) reckon they spend more than £100 on gifts that may not be appreciated.

 The poll found many worried they would appear ‘stingy’ if they didn’t spend the cash, with 43 per cent of Brits admitting they were concerned - perhaps because they were wary of judgement by loved ones.

Almost a quarter (23 per cent) of Brits surveyed admitted that they always or often receive Christmas gifts that they will never use, and around half of them (51 per cent) wish they could agree with their family and friends to spend less on Christmas presents.

Selflessly, more than one in four (27 per cent) of those who exchange gifts at Christmas would prefer to have a donation made to their favourite charity than receive a gift at all.

Sarah Diston, area fundraising manager for Macmillan, said: “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, and every donation Macmillan Cancer Support receives means we can continue to be there to support the three million people currently affected by cancer in the UK, enabling them to live life as fully as they can.

“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.

"And if you gave one donation of around £30, this could pay for one Macmillan nurse for an hour, helping people living with cancer and their families receive essential medical, practical and emotional support.

"If you’re thinking of swapping a traditional gift for a charity gift this year, Macmillan’s virtual gifts are a great way to make a donation in someone’s name.”