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Is Christmas an occasion you dread?

Posted 19 November 2014

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Christmas can be a very stressful time for some, not least because of the cost involved. If you’re already dreading the festive season, you’re not alone.

If it is then you wouldn’t be alone … and it doesn’t mean you’re a Scrooge either. In fact, one in three of us dread Christmas because of the cost involved.

Cost of Christmas

New research* conducted on our behalf has found that as well as a third of respondents dreading the festive season, one in five believe they will not really be able to celebrate it this year because of the cost. With presents to buy for friends and family, the dinner to pay for and prepare and probably a good deal of travel to fit in across December too, it’s easy to see how this time of year can quickly become expensive.


While a fifth of respondents think they’ll have to cut back or cancel their celebrations this year because it’s too expensive, others are looking at alternative ways to pay. Just over one in three of those surveyed said they would dip into their savings to help with the cost, while 13% think they will have to use either a loan or credit card to fund some or all of their Christmas bills this year.

Borrowing on borrowing

Credit may seem like the obvious place to turn if you don’t believe you’ll otherwise have the funds you need to buy and do everything you want this Christmas. However, if your finances are already stretched it could make a strained situation even worse.


One in ten of those surveyed revealed that they are still repaying borrowing they took out to cover the cost of last year’s Christmas. If this has left them short on cash so that they have to do the same this year they will be adding borrowing on top of borrowing, which could cause their debts to reach an unmanageable stage.

Goodwill at Christmas

Rather than turning to credit or cancelling all your festive plans, it may be possible for you to just cut the amount of money you need to spend. Ways to do this include agreeing to only buy presents for the kids this year rather than grown-up friends and family, or arranging a Secret Santa scheme so you only have to get one gift. You could even have a go at making your own presents, which can be a more personal gesture as well as saving you money.


Other tips include cutting the amount of travel you do by asking if you can meet with far-flung loved ones at some point in the new year when you have more cash (and when people are often less busy). At home, you could give your kids the challenge of making their own festive decorations and combining these with trimmings you already have. And ask yourself if you really need that giant turkey and all the expensive extras for your family. If you know you’ll be eating the leftovers for days, it might be worth getting a smaller and cheaper chicken instead, which could save you quite a bit of cash.


If you are still struggling with debts you built up last year and are finding it hard to meet your other regular financial commitments, let alone the ones expected of you at Christmas, it might be time to get some professional help with your borrowing. An expert debt advisor could provide you with the help and support you need to decide where to go from here, and assist you in figuring out whether a debt solution could help.


Perhaps your New Year’s resolution can be to get help managing your debts. Who knows? By next Christmas you might feel much more in the mood to celebrate.


*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 24th September and 3rd October 2014.

by Kyri Levendi

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.