A study of 2,000 adults found celebrating the festive season by buying presents, food and drink, and outfits for parties will see them splash out an average of £973.80 per person.
Gifts for friends and family take up more than half of the seasonal spending, with peers’ presents costing a generous £213, while gifts for relatives and children total £316.
And Brits are keen to ‘deck their halls’, with half opting for a fresh Christmas tree, spending £55 on average, with a further £22 going on updating old decorations or tired tinsel.
Putting the ‘feast’ in festive, a further £141 goes on food alone over the festive period while £68 is reserved for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
John Pears, UK MD of credit services provider Lowell, which commissioned the study, said: “At nearly £1,000 per person, that’s a huge amount being spent on festivities each year.
“The sheer expense and the pressure to spend more can make this a stressful time of year for anyone.
“Ideally we’d all set a budget and save a little bit each month, but the reality is not everyone can and some of us will use credit to fund Christmas.”
The study also found only half of those polled said they financed at least some of their spending by putting money aside throughout the year before the Christmas period begins.
And a quarter will begin their festive savings plan as early as January, to maximise how much they can put away.
Of these, the average person saves £93 each month, to help manage costs over the festive season.
Brits aim to have precisely £468 in savings by Christmas, to ensure they don’t have to go short – only half of what they actually end up spending.
Christmas even costs more than an entire summer holiday according to more than one in 10 Brits.
Thinking about budgeting, two in five believe they spend more now on Christmas than they did five years ago, and 47 per cent confessed they have struggled to afford everything they wanted to buy.
One in three of those polled, via OnePoll, also admitted they often spend more during the festive period then they had planned, with a quarter asking friends or family for help.
John Pears added: “With more than 40 per cent of respondents agreeing, many people believe that the meaning of Christmas is overshadowed by the amount of money we spend.
“Christmas is all about generosity but that shouldn’t be any more stressful than worrying about burning the turkey.”
“Whether you are going to save or plan to use credit, having a budget and really clear picture of what you’ll be buying can help manage the cost of Christmas.
“But if things don’t quite go to plan, don’t worry, there’s always help and advice available, just ask.”
CHRISTMAS SPENDING IN NUMBERS
Christmas gifts for friends – £213.07
Christmas gifts for family – £316.26
Buying a Christmas tree – £54.88
Spending on food – £141.62
Spending on drink – £68.29
Christmas decorations – £21.90
Wrapping – £15.76
Christmas party outfit – £61.17
Christmas parties or meals out – £64.65
Secret Santa – £16.20