We all know that the festive season can be expensive, but just how much on average does it really end up costing? According to price comparison site Gocompare.com, people in the UK spent over £21 billion on Christmas last year! That works out that the average household in the UK spent £753 on presents, food and drink, parties and decorations!  Clearly this is a staggering amount, but how many of us can actually afford to spend near to £1,000 on Christmas?

Well, it turns out many of us struggle to do so. According to research from the Money Advice Trust, nearly a quarter (23 percent) of people in the UK feel under pressure to spend beyond their means during the festive season. This increases with Christmas deal bonanzas happening on what appears to be an almost weekly basis, with things such as Cyber Monday and Black Friday. The survey also highlighted that people may be borrowing more than in 2014 in order to pay for Christmas spending. According to the report:

  • 35 percent of people had already borrowed money to pay for presents and food over the festive season.
  • Whilst most people (60 percent) believed they would be able to pay this debt within a month, (though statistics show that most tend to pay their Christmas credit card balances over double this amount of time, commonly taking 2.4 months on average) a small but worrying percentage (6 percent) believe it would take at least 6 months to pay back money owed on their credit card as a result of Christmas spending.

Putting the statistics aside for one moment, we imagine you may be fairly curious as to the breakdown of what Christmas spending actually looks like. Well, we’ve put the average spend per household into four categories for you that reveals the average Christmas spend, as well as the ways you can cut down on these costs for festivities.

Presents for families and friends 

The average family spends over £378 for Christmas presents for loved ones. Given this high amount, is it any wonder we find the idea of buying Christmas presents so stressful? According to the Money Advice Trust survey, one in 25 feel that it is other members of the family who make them feel they must spend beyond their budget. The same number of people also indicated other factors that made them feel the need to spend extravagant amounts, such as trying to please children, their spouse or due to heavy sell advertisements.

However, there are ways you can cut costs on presents this year. Why not do some baking (which at the same time, can help relieve Christmas stress) and make some lovely festive goods for loved ones? You could also make a Christmas hamper for family members rather than buying one – with many retailers tending to hike the prices up of hampers over the festive period, making them much more expensive to buy collectively than buying the goods separately.


In addition, you may have associated this typically with the office at work, but how about doing secret Santa with your family and friends? This could be a fantastic way to save cash particularly if you have a large family or feel obliged to buy presents for all your friends and perhaps even their spouse and children too. Be sure to set a maximum price limit too of something like £5, £10 or £20.

Food and drink, including the Christmas dinner 


We all tend to buy way more food and drink then we need to over the Christmas season, buying so many goods that it is almost like we are preparing for an apocalypse. As a result, it’s perhaps not surprising that the average household spends about £183 on their Christmas meal, and this can be significantly higher if you are the one who is entertaining the whole family.

There are many ways you can cut down on such costs though. Consider swapping branded items for cheaper options – often, it is hard to be able to tell any difference, but your purse will certainly feel it!

You may also find online shopping for Christmas food and drink may help to save money too. It will help you stick to a list rather than splurging on impulse items seen down an aisle, and you may even be entitled to a discount if this is the first time you’ve done supermarket shopping online. Many supermarkets offer £10 or £20 off a customer’s first shop online such as Ocado, so this is worth investigating before buying.


Ah, of course, all the Christmas parties we feel obliged to attend, and the embarrassment that can often ensue by going to them. Taking into account the other various costs involved with parties – such as the cost of buying new clothes, accommodation, transport, meals out and the price of tickets, this comes to on average £109 per household.

In order to save money, why not try to book transport online in advance to save on ticket costs, or consider an alternative method of getting there (such as Blablacar, or going by coach rather than train to your destination). You should also assess just how important it is for you to have a brand new outfit for each party you go to – is it entirely necessary? This can be a very simple step to take if you are trying to be more frugal with money.

Other Christmas expenses 

This includes the Christmas tree and other decorations, as well as other Christmas experiences we all inevitably indulge in, such as that trip to the pantomime with the kids, or going to various Christmas markets and sipping on mulled wine whilst trying to fight the crowds. All in all, this comes to around £83. To save a bit of money, why not look at sites such as Groupon or Wowcher for experiences (and even Christmas trees that can be delivered) at a reduced price? These types of websites often provide these goods at half the price, but without you needing to compromise on quality in any way.