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Christmas Unwrapped

LONDON, November 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Home retailer Littlewoods.com unveils the true cost of Christmas in 2012 -


  • The hidden costs of Christmas shopping on the high street reveals petrol, car parking and impulse buys add a whopping £505.54 to the festive budget
  • 68 per cent of British mums are worried about the cost of Christmas this year
  • The average Christmas present budget is to be cut by £45.76 - 8 per cent reduction on 2011
  • 98 per cent of mums to go without party clothes, hair do's and beauty treatments to ensure the family get what they want
  • WARNING TO HUSBANDS AND BOYFRIENDS - You'll be the first left off the Christmas present list if someone has to budge!

The hidden cost of Christmas

Gifts, twinkly trees, turkeys and a few tipples: there are some costs that mums expect when Christmas comes. However, it would seem that they're just the tip of the iceberg, as new research from leading online retailer Littlewoods.com[1] reveals millions of mums will rack up an additional £505.54[2] of hidden costs during their high street Christmas shopping sprees.

From filling-up the petrol tank to paying for car parking tickets, grabbing lunch and a trip to Santa's Grotto, Britain's mums are spending an average of £72.22 per shopping trip in hidden costs during the festive period. And with the majority of mums shopping 7 times during the joyous season, the cost of Christmas is getting very expensive indeed, before a present has even been bought.

The hidden costs of Christmas present shopping this season:
Food and drink - £178.78
Travel and transport - £133.70
Impulse buys - £110.67
Santa's Grotto - £45.50
Christmas donations - £36.89[3]
TOTAL: £505.54

Gary Kibble, Brand Director at Littlewoods.com said "With pennies stretched this year, it's more important than ever for mums to keep track of where their hard-earned cash is being spent.  Additional extras can soon mount up without putting further strain on the gifting budget and with 32 days to go, the pressures of Christmas for the nation's mums is starting to be felt."

Tightening the spend on Christmas 2012

The economic hardship, stretches in income and job risks have forced Brits to re-consider their spending patterns more than ever before - a major reason why over two thirds of the nation's mums (68 per cent) are worried about the expense of Christmas indulgence and are cutting back on Christmas present spending this year.

Infact, the research revealed how, on average, belts are expected to tighten by £45.76 - down from £592.74 (2011)[4] to £546.98 (predicted spend 2012).

With cutbacks planned, there's no surprise that 77 per cent of mums feel great pressure to get Christmas festivities right and ensure they're economising in the right areas.

WARNING: Who's crossed-off the Christmas present list

When quizzing Britain's mothers about who in the family would be the first to be left off the present list if push came to shove, it was surprising to see it's actually their partners (19 per cent) who'd be struck off in the first instance, behind uncles and aunties (12 per cent), their sisters (11 per cent) and cousins (10 per cent).

Interestingly, 96 per cent of mums said they wouldn't dream of leaving their in-laws off the list for fear of the arguments that could arise between them and their partners and the way they might be perceived as a result.

The same can be said for the kids. Despite reducing their overall Christmas present budget, the amount they spend on the kids is not expected to take the same drop. The research revealed that the average mother will spend £202.93 on the kids this year, only £1.54 short of what they said back in 2011 (£204.47) and £1.71 short on 2010 (£204.64).[5]

Mum's go without

True to a mother's nature of putting their family first, 98 per cent of the 2,000 mums surveyed by Littlewoods.com said they would be going without treats, new party clothes and beauty treatments this Christmas to ensure that everyone else received what they wanted.

State of the Christmas Nation

The research was commissioned by online retailer Littlewoods.com to establish the 'state of the Christmas nation' and determine how the tough economic climate will effect families' Christmases in 2012.

Gary Kibble, Brand Director at Littlewoods.com commented on the research findings, "The research has shown us that despite it being a financially difficult time, Mums are doing what they can to make sure their families have the best Christmas possible. At Littlewoods.com we want to help our customers make Christmas as magical as possible with the ease and convenience of shopping from home and avoidance of hidden extras."

Notes to Editors:

[1] Research carried out on behalf of Littlewoods.com by One Poll; November 2012.

[2] The average mum will spend £72.22 in hidden costs per shopping trip and expects to go shopping 7 times during the festive period. Therefore, calculations would indicate that each UK mum will spend on average £505.54 in hidden costs.

[3] Christmas donations refer to donations to charities, carol singers, festive performers and homeless people during the festive period.

[4] The same survey was run during the same timeframe in November 2011, where 2,000 British mums surveyed. The average cost that British mums expected to spend on their Christmas presents was £592.74.

[5] A similar survey was run during the same timeframe in November 2010, where 2,000 British mums surveyed. The average cost that British mums expected to spend on their children at Christmas in 2010 was £204.64.

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