Today, 30th October, is the day most Brits start planning their Christmas budget, and remember, remember the 5th of November as the day we start to buy Christmas presents. That’s according to a survey from Independent Age, the older people’s charity, to launch its new, free Christmas planning advice guide, Your guide to a stress-free Christmas.
The poll of 2,834 adults in the UK aged 18 and over found that, when it comes to planning for Christmas, the budget tends to be the first thing people think about. However, almost a third (30%) of people don’t think about budgets at all.
In terms of budget, almost a quarter (23.2%) of adults think they’ll spend more over the Christmas period this year compared to last year. However, among those aged 65 and over, this drops to around one in seven (14%), with almost one in five (17%) of that age group believing they’ll actually spend less this year. The main reason for those aged 65 and over thinking they’ll spend less this year is because their income has gone down (18%).
The poll found that people start talking to friends and family about where to spend Christmas on 7th November and start making their travel plans on 16th November. Families in the UK tend to travel quite a long way for Christmas, with the average distance travelled being 105.84 miles. Londoners travel the furthest, with an average of 190.1 miles, and people in Wales travel least (average of 61.98 miles). However, just over a third (35%) stay at home for Christmas, rising to more than two in five (41%) among those aged 65 and over.
According to the survey, well over half (55%) of adults in the UK say that Christmas is the most stressful time of the year, with more women saying this than men (58% compared to 51% for men).
Lucy Harmer, Director of Services for Independent Age, says, “Christmas should be a time of celebration and relaxation, but it can bring extra stresses. If you start to plan early, and make sure you have a budget in mind and stick to it, it can make things more manageable.
“This is especially true for older people, who are likely to be on a fixed income. For them, the festive season can be a difficult time of year. Many people want to be able to buy gifts for their loved ones, but may struggle to save enough money.
“It’s important to remember that, while we all want our Christmas to be special and to treat our loved ones, we don’t have to spend more than we can afford to make it special. Our new guide will help to take some of the stress away and help you plan your celebrations. ”
Your guide to a stress-free Christmas includes a range of topics, from budget and travel, to spending the festive season alone or celebrating Christmas with someone with dementia or in a care home. It’s free to order and download from independentage.org/stress-free-christmas, or by calling 0800 319 6789.
Independent Age’s online Christmas calculator will also help older people and their families budget for the festive season. It’s free and available to all at independentage.org/christmas-calculator.
Older people who would like more advice about what benefits they may be entitled to can call the free Independent Age Helpline on 0800 319 6789.