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How to avoid Debt over Christmas | Debt Consolidation LoansHere are our tips on how to avoid debt over Christmas

Debt consolidation loans can help when it comes to avoiding debt over the Christmas period, It is not uncommon for many of us to struggle with debt during December.

Lots of us want to enjoy Christmas, with events to go to, parties to attend, or even simply buying gifts for loved ones, family or friends the cost can see add up and lots of people get themselves into debt. We discuss options for you to consider to help you have a debt-free Christmas.

Avoid Post Christmas Debt this Year

You don’t have to start the New Year off up to your knees in debt. Some careful planning on this side of Christmas could mean that you can have both a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Work out how much you have to spend and work out what you need to buy. Include everything, from food to stamps. This year, you will also need to keep a note of delivery prices as they can quickly add up. Make a list and keep it close. 


Make a list of what you need and start browsing. Don’t buy until you’re sure that you have the best price, from chocolate biscuits to tech goods. Remember, Good Friday deals aren’t always the best price!

Keep An Eye on Return Policies

Make sure that you can get a refund if needs be. The detail is always in the small print and may not be the same online as in-store.

Shop Wisely

Don’t pay a premium for brands if you don’t need to. Shop around for the little extras that can add up to a lot. Bargain retailers and discount supermarkets have superb Christmas ranges.

Do More Yourself

Avoiding shortcuts and doing more of the work yourself can drastically reduce your Christmas spend. Think about making your own cards, decorations and crackers and avoiding convenience foods can really help your budget.  

Spend Smart

If you know that you’re going to need a bit of help to get you through the period – and you can afford to pay it off in smaller chunks after Christmas – you might want to consider a credit card with 0% interest on purchases for a set number of months. Please make sure that you can pay off the card before the interest-free period ends.

Sad young male seated with christmas tree

How many people go into debt for Christmas?

One in four families will start the New Year having gone into debt to cover the cost of Christmas. Many families in credit card debt are still paying off the cost of Christmases past and already know that they will still be paying off this Christmas by the time next December comes around. 

It is estimated that people who put the cost of Christmas on their credit cards will be borrowing an average of just over £450 per person. That means that some people might only use it for a few purchases while others are actually spending a lot more. It’s estimated that Christmas creates a £8.5 billion credit card debt for the UK, with spending covering both gifts and entertaining. 

How much does the average UK family spend on Christmas?

Christmas seems to start at the end of the summer months and it gives people the opportunity to spend, spend, spend in the run-up to the festive season. It’s estimated that over £33 billion was spent on Christmas gifts last year.

Children attract the largest spend, with an average of over £120 per child, although this can vary greatly across the UK regions.  Older children, 16+ years, have a spend of just over £100 on gifts while partners and spouses can expect an average of around £120 per person.  

Parents can expect around £60 to be spent on Mum, while Dad gets just over £50. Siblings rank next, with a present price tag of just under £50, while grandparents and in-laws come in at around £40. 

Friends are treated to just over £30 of gifts, while extended families, like nieces and nephews, will have just under £30 spent on them. Pets can look forward to a gift of around, on average, £27 with work colleagues getting a treat worth just over £20.

Christmas spending includes food and drink and families can expect to spend an average of £172 per household, which adds up to £4.7bn, and Christmas socialising – including a new outfit – Christmas tree and Christmas outings, like a panto, adding up to £182 per household. 


How much money should you spend on Christmas presents?

To make sure that you can afford to buy everyone that you need something, create your list and then shop wisely. Check out in-store offers, as well as online, to make sure that you have got the best price for what it is that you want to buy.

Across the UK, children under 16 have the most money, on average, spent on them at Christmas, at a cost of just under £130 per child. Partners and spouses can count on around £120 of gifting and children over 16 years get around £105 spent on them at Christmas. The size of your Christmas spend depends on the size of your family but the average costs spent per person are as follows:

  • Mum Just over £60
  • Dad Just over £50
  • Siblings Around £47
  • Grandparents £40
  • Father in law £40 / Mother in law £38
  • Step mum £38 / Stepdad £35
  • Friends Just over £32
  • Extended Family Around £29

If you want to shop for pets, the average per pet is £27, while work colleagues enjoy a spend of just over £20.

How much should you spend on Christmas gifts?

On average, children under 16 have the most amount of money spent on them at Christmas, with a spend of just under £130 per household. Older children, over 16, have a smaller spend of around £105. Partners and spouses have the second-highest spend on their gifts, at around £120. Parents differ slightly, with Mums having around £10 more spent on them than Dads, attracting a spend of about £60 and £50 respectively.

Brothers and sisters can count on a just under £50 spend at Christmas while grandparents, in-laws and step parents can look forward to a gift spend of around £40. Friends will have around £32 spent on them and extended family – nieces, nephews etc – have a present spend of around £29. Pets have a gift worth an average of £27, while work colleagues have a spend of just over £20.

How much to spend on co-worker Christmas gifts?

We spend a lot of time with our co-workers and they can become more like family to us. Christmas is a great time to show the people that we work with just how much they mean to us. It might depend on the number of people that you have in your team and whether you do a Secret Santa or not, but the average amount of money that people in the UK spend on their co-worker is just over £20.

How much to spend on your boyfriend or girlfriend for Christmas

That might just depend on how long you’ve been together! If your boyfriend or girlfriend is more of a partner than a relationship that’s just starting out, you could be looking at spending just over £120 on your loved one.

If you’re in the early stages of spending time in each other’s company, you might want to tailor your spending accordingly. It can be tricky to decide exactly what to do. Pushing the boat out might be showing your hand a little too much, whereas scrimping on a new boyfriend or girlfriend could be the end of what could have been a beautiful thing. It’s worth giving this one some considered thought.

Overwhelmed by debt? Don't struggle with debt. We can help. Debt Consolidation Loans UKHow to clear Christmas debt built up over the holidays

Christmas debt can creep up on you – but there are ways to get the debt cleared. Christmas is the time to spend more than normal. It might be because it’s one of the coldest times of the year and you have the heating on more, or because the house is full of people enjoying the Christmas break (and eating more). That’s before the presents and the turkey is accounted for.

There is good news

You can clear the debt that you build up. It might be tough going sometimes, but it is well worth it. 

The first thing to know is that, if you have overspent on Christmas this year, you are not alone. Over £8bn is spent on credit cards over the average UK Christmas period, which accounts for an average card debt of just over £450 per person. 

It does mean that almost a fifth of people went over their own budget, with almost one in four in debt as a result. 

Instead of trying to ignore it, the best thing to do is to get to grips with your debt and work on getting rid of it. 

Reduce your spending

In the lead up to Christmas, everyone spends a little more here and there and it is worth reminding yourself to tighten your belt again.

Clever Credit Cards

You might want to consider moving your debt to a card that’s offering  0% interest on balance transfers. This will let you focus on paying the debt and not the interest. Please ensure that you make your monthly repayments in full and on time or you might begin to be charged interest. 

Be Money Smart

January is also a good time to shop around for new suppliers for your energy, broadband and insurance. A quiet, rainy afternoon spent shopping around could save you hundreds of pounds, which can be re-directed to paying off debts.





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Our team is on hand to help with number of questions you may have.

If you are struggling with debt, please visit Money Advice Service for help and advice.

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