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Economic crisis hits Christmas plans

Santa Claus looks as if he won't be so busy this year, as the Swiss plan to cut down on Christmas gift giving because of the economic crisis.

A poll of 500 consumers published on Wednesday by consultancy firm Ernst & Young found that the average budget for Christmas presents this year will be SFr267 ($260). One person in three intends to spend less than they did last year, while only five per cent are prepared to be more generous.

Men are planning to spend more than women, and the most generous age group is people aged between 36 and 45.

While 46 per cent of those polled said they would not spend more than SFr200 on presents, 11 per cent are ready to spend upwards of SFr500.

Books top the list of the most popular presents this year, followed by vouchers or money, with clothing and CDs and DVDS coming equal third. and agencies