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Your True Cost of Christmas

Your True Cost of Christmas

Did you know that the average person in the UK spends £1,138 during the festive season?  And did you also know that the festive season only captures the spending completed between 18 - 24 December?  (ref. YouGov)

So, if you have 4 adults in your household, the cost of Christmas is at least £4,552.

Care to guess your household's cost of Christmas?

Woman at desk using laptop for the true cost of Christmas article

And the above doesn't take into account all of the spending undertaken for Christmas, outside of those dates. 

You know, the little costs of Christmas...

...such as advent calendars, Christmas jumpers, presents (if you buy them early), food shopping, and so on.  Or post Christmas food shopping, Boxing Day sales, and just generally treating yourself because you're worth it.


This article, which is part of the Get Organised for Christmas series, is going to get you to look at your true cost of Christmas.  Because for-warned is for-armed.  It helps you to see where the giant retailers are playing on your fears as you get closer to Christmas.  Encouraging you to spend more, and more, for that extra special Christmas.  And the reality is, your Christmas is just as special without the extra spending, because by working through your mini planner, you already know what is important to you and to your family.

Woman doing work on a laptop for the true cost of Christmas article

What costs of Christmas might I need to include in my budgeting sheet?

Apart from the gifts, which most of us probably track anyway, below are an extra 50+ Christmas spends (in no particular order) that you need to be adding to your budget to work out your full cost of Christmas.  See how many of these apply to you.

  1. Presents to your pets
  2. Presents from your pets to members of the household
  3. Chocolates/candy canes for the tree
  4. Christmas decorations
  5. Christmas lights, both inside and outside
  6. Christmas tree, if fresh or needs replacing
  7. Christmas wreath, and not only the one for the front door, but any fresh wreaths for the graves too
  8. Christmas cards
  9. Christmas postage for the cards
  10. Christmas photos, especially if you have a family portrait done each year
  11. Christmas CD's
  12. Christmas DVD's
  13. Christmas sweaters
  14. Christmas bedding
  15. Christmas pyjamas
  16. Gingerbread house kits/cookie cutter kits for the tree etc
  17. Christmas Eve food
  18. Family dinners during December, both at home and out
  19. Christmas Day Dinner
  20. New Years Eve food
  21. Charitable donations
  22. Shoebox appeals
  23. Appreciation gifts - teacher, hairdresser etc
  24. Service related gifts/tips - bin men, window cleaner, newsagent delivery boy
  25. Church/religious ceremonies contribution
  26. Cinema/theatre trips - to the pantomime/ballet etc
  27. Alcohol
  28. Health and beauty - haircuts/manicures/waxes
  29. Grotto visits
  30. Flowers/plants
  31. Stockings- the cost of, and filling them
  32. Christmas Eve boxes
  33. Advent calendars
  34. Advent candles
  35. Party costs for parties that you host
  36. Party costs for those that you attend - food/drink you take
  37. Dinner party host presents
  38. Raffle prizes
  39. New Years Day meal
  40. Holiday baking
  41. Home-made gifting
  42. Ingredients for making Christmas specific foods - mince pies, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake
  43. Tins/bottles/jars for homemade gifts
  44. Gift wrap and tags
  45. Home decor - cushions/throws/new pieces of art work
  46. Snacks
  47. Food between Christmas and New Year
  48. Holiday travel, including hotels/trains etc
  49. Christmas magazines
  50. Christmas books
  51. Postage for Christmas gifts

Cor blimey! 

Woman writing in a notebook with some money next to her, as part of the article calculating the true cost of Christmas

Even if each of these individual Christmas extras cost just £5 each, that's still £250 extra that we've not budgeted for.  And if you can get a haircut for just £5 these days, make sure you tell us who your hairdresser is down below in the comments! 

All of these extra costs at Christmas, no wonder we're frazzled by the end of January paying for all this stuff!

When I first worked out my cost of Christmas, I was staggered at how much was spent.  And so I started looking at what was important to me and my family, which you've already done if you've worked through the mini planner.  Now, the cost of Christmas has halved, and yet our Christmas experience has not.  I think that it's got better.  But by all means, if each one of these categories is important to you, feel under no pressure at all to try skimping on them.  This is, after all, helping you to plan for you and your family's perfect Christmas.

Working out your true cost of Christmas now

To move yourself forward, factor in any of these additional costs that apply to your family into your budgeting sheet, and jot a figure down next to them.  Then, keep a clear record of what you're spending throughout the season.  I do write down each individual amount and categorise it in a large spreadsheet.  And then during September - December, I tot it all up, and make sure I'm on track, and update the figures if I'm not.  Some years I need to add a new category in that I've not used before, and most years, another category is missed out.  But most importantly of all, you're in control now of your cost of Christmas.  Keep your record somewhere safe, and you now have accurate figures to start off next years' planning with.

Any missed costs of Christmas?

If there's any costs of Christmas that you make a note of and that you've noticed is missing from my list above, drop me a note in the comments and I will update the article.

Related articles to Your True Cost of Christmas:



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  • Annabelle Summerfield
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