Christmas is upon us, and in the UK, that can only mean one thing: presents aplenty. Of course, Christmas has other meanings, but it has also become a time when we like nothing more than to treat our family and friends by showing them what they mean to us. This year is like no other that we have ever known: the pandemic has seen many face financial uncertainties, and some people face a Christmas away from families. This doesn’t mean that we won’t be buying gifts though: Christmas is always a time of the year when we stretch ourselves to make sure that we can afford those perfect gifts, and this year will be no different.
The true cost of Christmas
It has been reported that the UK spends around £20 billion on Christmas gifts each year, and that means that each and every one of us spends around £400. A report in 2019 shows that our average spend on gifts is £363.
To understand how much we each really spend on presents, it’s important to remember that the average is just that: an average. When you consider some of the must-have gifts of 2020, such as the PlayStation 5, have a price tag of around £500 alone, the cost of Christmas gifts can quickly exceed that average.
Our desire for all things gadget and technology-related mean that the cost of gifts is only moving one way: upwards. Gone are the days of a simple present: certainly where children are involved, there is a pressure to deliver on the latest tech.
How does the UK compare to other countries?
While there is no denying that we can be seen as pretty generous when it comes to our Christmas gifts spend, we’re not quite top the list. Over in the US, their total spend on Christmas sits at around £823 billion according to a comprehensive research by Betway, with the average person spending £706 on Christmas gifts.
The UK still spends more on Christmas gifts than those in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Perhaps in the UK we just get carried away with the spirit of Christmas, or maybe we’re just disorganized and that 11th hour Christmas shopping sees us overspend.
It’s not just the gifts
Christmas presents are just one expense at this time of the year: alongside these, we also have the extra food to budget for (and ordinarily we’d be budgeting for parties too – maybe next year!). The Bank of England reports that the average household in the UK spends an additional £800 during the month of December.
So while Christmas gifts are a considerable spend in the run up to Christmas, they equate to roughly half of our overall spend for the festive period.
How does this year compare?
Considering all that has happened in 2020, it may be surprising to know that the UK doesn’t plan to cut back on their Christmas spending. One report suggests in fact 43% of people are planning on spending more than in 2019. Whether the current state of the economy will allow this to happen is questionable, but what is for sure is that even if our Christmas spending dips this year, it is sure to bounce back in 2021.