• Cost of Christmas increased by 50% in the last 3 years, with UK adults planning to spend £768 on all things festive

  • Three in ten (30%) plan on going into the red (debt) to cover the festive expenditure

  • Almost one in ten (8%) will sacrifice day to day meals to cover the cost of Christmas

The average person in the UK is planning to spend over £768 this year on all things Christmas, such as gifts, food, decorations and entertaining according to new research* released today.  This figure is up almost 50% on 2020 when the average Brit stated they had spent an average of £495** on the festive season.

The survey also highlighted the fragility of millions of people’s Christmas finances when it comes to outlay over the festive period with three in ten (30%) of UK adults anticipating that they will go into debt to fund Christmas expenditure this year.  

Rudolph’s nose and Santa’s clothes are famously red at Christmas and the new research by Yorkshire Building Society has revealed that almost a fifth (19%) of UK adults would rely on a credit card for their festive purchases. A further one in ten (11%) will rely on other forms of borrowing including ‘buy now pay later’ options, loan facilities, pay day loans, pawnbroking or borrowing from friends and families - meaning their finances go into the red this Christmas.

Of the respondents that felt they would have to change their current lifestyles to fund Christmas expenditure, one in five (23%) said they would sacrifice eating out or having takeaways (22%) whilst one in ten (11%) said they would go without hair and beauty appointments.  Sadly almost one in ten (8%) would sacrifice day to day meals to cover the cost of Christmas.

According to the research over a third of people (39%) will be dipping into their savings to cover the cost of the festive period. Yet worryingly one in ten people (11%) have no savings at all to dip in to.

Those who might be a little more prepared this year included savers who have seen their Christmas Regular Saver mature. The regular saver account released by the Society in January allowed savers to deposit up to £300 a month. People with the account have been putting an average of £176 away each month, more than covering the average £768 expected spend reported in the survey.

Chris Irwin, director of savings at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “The cost of Christmas, for many, is growing each year. Our Christmas regular saver encouraged people to save money and help to spread the cost to avoid unnecessary expense or worse, debt. For those that don’t save money regularly, starting a regular saver will give shoppers a healthy sum to draw on for Christmas next year without having to rely on credit. With an average spend of almost £800, saving £50 a month will help cover the cost next year. It will also show that saving regularly is achievable and if the habit is maintained after Christmas, it will help start to build up a healthy savings pot.

“We don’t want to tell people how to spend their hard-earned money but covering the cost of Christmas, for many, can be quite daunting and stressful. We recognise that many people need help and advice around financial wellbeing – now so that they can navigate the coming months – and potentially years – without getting into debt, or, indeed, getting into further debt. That’s why initiatives such as our partnership with Citizens Advice are also here to help”.

Yorkshire Building Society current regular saver aims help people build financial resilience and earn a competitive return on their short-term savings.

The 2024 version of the Christmas Regular Saver will be launched in January to support savers with their Christmas goals.

Yorkshire Building Society offers its innovative partnership with Citizens Advice which sees independent advisers hold free, impartial and confidential appointments in selected high street branches of the Society to support people with a range of issues. including financial wellbeing. In addition, Yorkshire Building Society has a range of support tools available to help people build their financial resilience and take practical steps to saving more.  To find out more, please visit the Society’s Money MOT hub


Yorkshire Building Society Savings survey: The research was carried out online by Opinium. All surveys were conducted between 24th and 27th October 2023 and the sample comprised of 2,000 UK adults 

** Yorkshire Building Society Real Life moments survey: The research was carried out online by Opinium. All surveys were conducted between 28th Sept 2021 and 1st October 2021 and the sample comprised 2,000 UK adults.