A 2016 poll by Nationwide found that the average Brit spends £645 on Christmas. On average, people in the UK spend…
- £117 on Christmas presents for their partner,
- £145 on presents for their children,
- £20 on their pet (lucky pets!).
This broadly corresponds with the Bank of England’s findings on Christmas spending which found that our spending in December increasing by around £500 per month. OK they’re not exactly the same, but in the same sort of ‘region’, and not crazily different (to use the technical term).
Looked at by household – A Survey by Go Compare (1) found that the average British household expects to spend £753 on Christmas festivities this year. Collectively that’s a staggering £21 billion splashed out on presents, food and drink, parties and decorations.
Regional Variations in Spending
Unsurprisingly, households on lower incomes spend a higher proportion of their monthly income on Christmas than – According to this BBC article, people in the North East spend around 26%, while in London the figure falls to around 16% of monthly household income.
The article also cites anecdotal evidence that people in poorer areas spend more on presents than people in richer areas.
Debt and Christmas
Again, according to the above BBC article, The Money Advice Trust, a charity which runs the National Debtline, polled 2,000 people and found 37% are putting Christmas presents on credit. NB As far as I can tell these are 2015 figures (it’s not that clear from the article!)
- 34 percent borrowed money to cover the cost of Christmas presents – figure equating to an estimated 16.9 million people.
- More than one in five (21 percent) borrowed to put food on the Christmas table – equating to an estimated 10.4 million people.
All in all, it seems like there’s a lot of evidence that for the poorest third of households, it’s not so much Christmas, but more like Debtmass, which offers broad support for the validity of a Marxist theory of Christmas.
(1) NB – An interesting point about this research, is that one finding is unlikely to valid… half of households said they would finance their income from their current account. Unfortunately for Go Compare, the Median household in the UK has only £10 a month left over after all expenditure is taken into account…. thus it simply isn’t possible (assuming these ONS stats are valid) for this to be the case.