According to new research, over 4.5 million Brits are planning to spend over £300 per child on Christmas presents this year. The research, conducted by Saffron Building Society of 2,000 UK parents with children under 18 years of age who celebrate Christmas, shows a concerning continuation of over-spending when it comes to children.
As a nation facing rising energy prices, making it more costly to heat and power our homes, the increase in fuel prices, food supply costs and shortages, and with inflation set to continue to rise – a spend of over £300 per child (£600 per typical two child household) is quite a concerning financial burden on parents. This is at a time where we really should be reassessing our budgets and mitigate the impact being felt by the pandemic and the economic recovery. As 47% of Brits admit they get excited by gift giving, there poses a risk of increasing debt and poor financial security for the worst hit families.
John Penberthy-Smith, Financial Wellbeing Expert at Saffron Building Society comments: “Our latest research does raise some concerns when we consider the financial wellbeing of families as they approach the festive season. Christmas, and gift giving, appears to be one of the main reasons many will rely on borrowing money and risk long term financial uncertainty, because of the commercialisation of Christmas. Gift giving is an important part of Christmas, so nobody wants that to end, but should we really be risking getting into debt and financial uncertainty for the sake of a few extra presents? Shouldn’t Christmas be about our family, loved ones and spending quality time being grateful we are, and can be, together?”
As the festive season approaches, what are Brits most looking forward to in 2021? 57% are excited to spend more quality time with their children, 48% are excited for Christmas Dinner, 43% are simply looking forward to some time away from work, and a quarter are keen to get into the party spirit.
“It is nice to see so many people looking forward to Christmas in 2021. Following a year where we couldn’t even hug our families, and a Christmas Day for millions spent speaking with relatives and loved ones over Zoom, it is no surprise that we are looking forward to some semblance of normality. This is where our focus should be. Not on expensive gifts with a short shelf life but enjoying time together as a family and making memories that will last a lifetime. It is tough not being able to gift the entire list your children request each year. Children are sponges for information, so why not shift the conversation around present giving and why they cannot always have everything they want to be more educational. Discuss where money comes from, where it is spent and how important money is to keep a roof over our heads, heating on and food on the table. Psychological studies have found that having these conversations have not only a positive impact on the child but can also bring the family closer together.”
Saffron Building Society’s wellbeing team have been pulling together budget friendly festive recipes, homemade decoration instruction sheets, games, and supporting financial wellbeing advice, free and updated regularly between now and Christmas. If you want to shift the focus of Christmas with your family this year, visit www.itsmorethanmoney.co.uk to get lots of useful advice and fact sheets to have a fun, family-focussed and affordable Christmas.
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