Debt Support Trust has surveyed the opinions of 1,055 people across the UK to find out about their Christmas spending habits. The most prominent results were:

  • 17% of people will borrow to afford their Christmas
  • 15% of borrowers will still be repaying this year’s Christmas debt next year
  • 42% of people feel pressured to overspend on Christmas
  • Almost one third (32%) of people feeling pressured to overspend wish they could cancel Christmas because of the financial burden
  • The average amount being spent on gifts is £230 but Christmas will cost each adult £433, including travel, gifts, food and alcohol.

Christmas: An Expensive Day

Christmas Debt

The cost of Christmas is such that many people wish they could cancel the festive holiday.

At the charity, we help 40% of people in debt in the first three month’s of the year as people start the New Year wanting to resolve their financial problems.

One Christmas of overspending is unlikely to translate into serious debt problems however consistent overspending could cause financial difficulties.

We found that 42% of people felt pressured to exceed their budget and spend more than they had in order to meet their Christmas expectations. Of the people that felt pressured to overspend at Christmas 32% wish they could cancel Christmas because of the financial burden.

The average cost of Christmas is £433 per person, which includes food, gifts, travel, alcohol and decorations. These costs for some people (17%) will be borrowed with the intention of repaying at a later date.

Credit Cards at Christmas

Some people will turn to credit cards to afford Christmas this year. While 61% of people will use money in their current account and a further 14% will use their savings to pay for Christmas, 14% will turn to credit cards, 2% will borrow from friends and family and 1% will take out a loan.

Borrowing on credit cards can help pay for the costly Christmas period and most people will have their Christmas debt repaid within 6 months. For some (15%), they will still be repaying this year’s Christmas debt next year.

Stuart Carmichael, Chief Executive of Debt Support Trust said, “Borrowing to afford Christmas isn’t necessarily a problem as long as there is an affordable repayment plan in place to clear the debt.

“It’s important to set a realistic budget over the festive period and decide prior to spending if you want to take up to 12 months, or longer, to repay debt borrowed to afford one day.”


* Survey was conducted by Populus on 10th & 11th of December 2014.*