2021 Christmas Spending & Debt Report: Aussies are planning to spend less

How do your Christmas spending habits compare with the rest of the country?

Kate Reynolds
Dec 01, 2021
Icon Time To Read3 min read

It may be the most wonderful time of year,  but your bank account might not agree. And it seems Aussies are feeling the festive pinch, with 61% saying they plan to spend less on Christmas gifts this year, and 1 in 3 say they’re worried or stressed about paying for Christmas gifts, according to our recent survey.

Because amongst the tinsel, mince pies and cheery man in a red suit lies the other side of Christmas festivities - the cost.

How much are Aussies planning on spending this year?

We asked how much Aussies are planning to spend on Christmas this year, and here’s what they said:

  • $463.03 on Christmas gifts
  • $219.46 on Christmas necessities (like decorations and food)

What’s also interesting is that 24% of respondents said they anticipate they’ll need to borrow money to cover the cost of Christmas via products like credit cards and Buy Now Pay Later services - with the average amount being $570.

Aussie Christmas shopping habits

  • Do you wait for a big sale, like Black Friday or Click Frenzy to get on top of your Christmas shopping? Apparently 34% of Aussie shoppers do.
  • If you make a budget for your Christmas shopping, you’re in the minority (just!). 48% of respondents say they make a budget for Christmas gifts, while 52% say they just buy what they find.
  • And as for when we’re doing our Christmas shopping, 1 in 4 Aussies leave it until December to make their list and check it twice, while 41% say they plan to start their Christmas shopping in November. 34% are early birds and plan to do their Christmas shopping in October.
2021 Christmas Spending and Debt Report statistics from a recent survey

Image source: Reviews.org

What’s under the Christmas tree?

It turns out that not all of us enjoy the element of surprise when unwrapping gifts from under the Christmas tree. Only 40% of respondents said they prefer receiving physical gifts, while 60% say they’d prefer either cash or a gift card.

How to reduce Christmas spend

If you’re anxious about the looming cost of Christmas, there are ways to lessen the blow. Here are some tips according to Savings.com.au to help take the ‘exxy’ out of Xmas.

  • Budget: if you’re not one of the 48% of Aussies who budget for their Christmas spend, become one. Savings.com.au says it’s important to make a budget and stick to it, to avoid carving out a debt for yourself.
  • Buy only what you need: when it comes to Christmas Day lunch, there always seems to be enough food to feed a football team. Write a list and only buy what you need - it’ll help save money, and also save food from going to waste.
  • Research: if you’ve found the perfect gift, the last thing you want is to purchase it, only to find it cheaper elsewhere. Take a moment to see if you can find the item cheaper at another store or site before you add to cart.
  • Give the gift of handmade: you’ve heard it before, but handmade gifts can not only reduce your overall cost, but make more meaningful gifts than generic store bought items. Whether it’s chutneys and jams, a handmade wreath or a gingerbread house,  you don’t have to be a craft wizard to whip up some nice homemade gifts.
  • Debit over credit: While almost a quarter of Aussies think they’ll need to borrow money to cover the cost of Christmas, Savings.com.au says if you can avoid racking up a debt, then do opt for debit over credit. And remember if you do choose to you Buy Now Pay Later services or credit cards, to stay on top of your payments to avoid being stung with late payment fees or interest charges.


To find out how much Aussies plan to spend on Christmas gifts and how much debt they anticipate getting into, we surveyed 1,000 Australians in October 2021. We then analyzed and compiled the results for this report.