Christmas cost countdown
Every year, in early November, there are a plethora of studies and surveys published that tell us how much money we’re going to spend before the Christmas tree comes down and the lights get turned off in early January.First out of the traps this year were the unChristmassy accountants at Deloitte who reported that Irish households were going to spend €966. This is down from more than €1,400 that Irish consumers blew at the height of the boom in 2006 but still considerably higher than EU average of €591.
Deloitte said that Irish households will spend an average of €499 on presents, with €288 earmarked for food and drink and €178 set aside to cover the cost of going out. A separate study from the Irish League of Credit Unions said Irish adults are set to spend an average of €527 on Christmas this year.
The reality is many Irish households will go through a whole lot more once the 12 costs of Christmas are taken care of.
1 Food:Irish adults are likely to consume around 6,000 calories on Christmas Day alone and also put on an average of half a stone over the festive period. The Deloitte survey suggests that the Irish households will spend €288 on food and drink over Christmas. This seems like a wild under-estimation to us.
We filled a virtual shopping trolley made up of a turkey, ham, biscuits, mince pies, breakfast material, melon, plum pudding and a few other Christmas Day essentials. We did not go mad but even so, the cost of our basket of 25 items, sufficient to feed a family of two adults and three children on the big day, with a few leftovers, came to €227. Add another €100 for food over the period between December 23rd and December 31st and the grocery bill is more than €300. And we haven’t had a drink yet.
2 Drink:We did not go mad. We limited ourselves to a case of beer, four bottles of fairly cheap red wine, two bottles of ordinary looking champagne, a small bottle of brandy for the lighting of the plum pudding and one bottle of whiskey to make Irish coffees. Despite our comparative temperance, our bill came to €144. To this we added the cost of two adults going to a pub three times over the Christmas period and having four pints each on each occasion – hardly excessive by Irish standards – and the bill for booze hit €264.
3 The Christmas party:Office parties are less lavish than they might have been during the boom, but many companies still manage to hold some class of do over Christmas. If you decide to go you should probably allow €30 for taxis and €30 more for drinks. As there are two (probably terrible) Christmas parties to go to in our imaginary home, we double it.
4 The tree:Perhaps you bought yourself a fake plastic tree years ago in which case you can skip to point five (albeit hanging your head in shame). A real tree will set you back €50.
5 Decorations:If you’re not starting completely from scratch and shop for decorations in Penneys or Ikea as opposed to some high-end department store, you should spend no more than €20 on decorations. Some Christmas lights to replace the tangled, broken mess you pull down from your attic will cost another €20.