Brits set to spend more on gifts, garments and grub this Christmas

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The FINANCIAL — Christmas plans remain uncertain for many, but Brits are not going to let current restrictions stop them getting into the festive spirit. New research from American Express (NYSE: AXP) reveals that Brits will be spending more on presents, new clothes and festive decorations this year compared to 2019’s Christmas.

Gifts are the top spend this year with Brits budgeting £346 on perfect presents to place under the tree, which is an 11% uplift from the £312 spent on gifts in 2019.

Santa’s year-on-year Christmas list:


Average spend in 2020 (£)

Average spend in 2019 (£)




New clothes



Food for Christmas Day



Christmas decorations






As we spend more time at home, one in seven (15%) excitable elves will be getting into the Christmas spirit earlier this year by putting up their Christmas decorations before December.

‘Tis the season for savvy spending

The research revealed 59% of shoppers have set a budget for festive spending this year, but 27% admit they may not stick to it. Nearly two thirds (62%) of UK Christmas shoppers say that they are cutting back on some things this year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the main ways people will be paying for Christmas is via their monthly income, saving up in advance and using a credit card, one in seven plan on using cashback, rewards or loyalty points to pay for Christmas. These savvy Santas expect to save an average of £71 each on their seasonal shopping bill.

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American Express offers the following top tips on how to have a fun and budget-friendly Christmas:

  1. Decorate your background – As we shift into new ways of socialising on video calls, our background is a window into our world as we are away from family and friends. Spread some unexpected cheer on your next video call by decorating your background with some festive decorations to brighten up the day.
  1. Create a candy cane hunt – Chocolate and sweetie hunts are not just for Easter! Set up a treasure hunt of candy canes for little ones around your home or garden.
  1. Make your spending work for you – A fifth (20%) of shoppers say they do not collect rewards when they shop. With the potential to earn rewards you can redeem on everyday shopping bills, exchange for vouchers or put towards a treat for yourself, it’s worthwhile using a credit or charge card that offers rewards when you shop.
  1. Festive film marathon – Everyone has their favourite Christmas film, so organise time to snuggle up with loved ones having a movie marathon. Check out which streaming services have the best films on offer and top the occasion off with delicious cinema style treats.
  1. Make a list and stick to it – Over a quarter (27%) of shoppers admit to setting a budget but not always sticking to it. Christmas is a time of unexpected costs and splurges so keep your spending in check by doing your research before you take the plunge. Those minutes you spend browsing could help you save a good few pounds.
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