Skip to main content

Christmas is often called the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ and with all the delicious food, gift giving, family time and festive fun it’s not hard to see why.

However, with the rush to get everything bought and all the holiday excitement, the true cost of Christmas is something we often only appreciate when January rolls around and our direct debits come out.

So, to help you avoid the January blues, we’ve looked at the average Christmas spending in UK households so you can get a better idea of the potential cost of Christmas. We’ve also found a few tips and tricks for doing Christmas on a budget.

The cost of Christmas presents

Unsurprisingly, presents are one of the biggest expenses.

Whether you’re super prepared or you leave shopping to the last-minute sales, chances are you spend over £200 on gifts. That’s right, average Christmas spending on presents is average Christmas spending on presents is £289, and up to 25% of us are prepared to spend more than £500. And the presents don’t stop at humans. Apparently we’ll spend £166million on our dogs this Christmas. Lucky Fido!

The rising cost of Christmas dinner

You’d struggle to find someone who doesn’t enjoy an indulgent Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. For many this is the best meal of the year, but according to the Financial Times, the average cost of Christmas dinner has risen by 6% since 2017.

What’s more, the total cost has been rising steadily year on year, and now most supermarkets are charging more for our favourite Christmas dinner staples.

Last year, the Independent revealed that a full dinner would cost on average £22.50 per person and around £174 for a family.

More festive food and drink

On top of Christmas dinner we’ll also spend an extra £45 on beer, wine and spirits just to drink at home, while those of us going to Christmas parties and social events can expect to spend a further £100 each on these occasions.

Decking the halls at a price

Forget a couple of baubles and some tinsel, the amount we’re spending on decorations has been steadily rising.

The average cost of Christmas decorations in 2017 was £31.12, according to Statista, going up from £29.16 the year before. Based on the same increase of 6.72%, we could now be paying £33.21 to deck the halls.

UK average Christmas spending

We can end up spending around £650 on Christmas, which can be even more for those with larger families.

On top of this, there are other potential Christmas costs such as travel, both at home and abroad, Christmas cards, and using more gas and electricity. And then there are your usual day to day expenses that add to this total.

All these expenses could push your total Christmas spending into four figures.

Ways to do Christmas on a budget

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to do Christmas on a budget and bring the cost of Christmas down.

Ditch all the trimmings

You can still have a special Christmas dinner, but do you really need all the trimmings? Studies show that the average person eats over 5,000 calories on Christmas Day alone. So, cutting back on food and drink isn’t just good for your bank balance, it’s good for your health.

Budget your nights out

There’s nothing to stop you letting your hair down when you’re in the festive spirit, but it’s a good idea to set a budget. Check out our top budgeting tips for nights out and give them a try over the Christmas period.

Make your own decorations

Instead of buying lots of new decorations, you could create your own. Country Living has put together a huge list of affordable ideas which the whole family can get involved with.

How thinkmoney could help

A thinkmoney Current Account can help you with your budgeting this Christmas and help make sure your bills are paid on time. This is because the money you need for these bills and other important expenses will be held separately, stopping you from overspending on any festive indulgences.

Legal Information