The Challenges of Christmas Holiday Spending

Given the financial struggles many are currently facing, how is everyone dealing with the challenges of holiday spending? And how can you save money on Christmas shopping to combat this?

A pile of Christmas gift bags and presents
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Christmas holidays are a time for celebrating, during which family and friends all come together. However, the growing societal pressure to buy gifts and overspend can make it a stressful season for many.

While some try to spread their shopping over a longer period, carefully budgeting, recent economic circumstances have made this upcoming Christmas a hard one for Brits across the country. 

According to research from ShipEngine, ShipStation and Retail Economics, 79% of UK consumers plan to cut back on non-food Black Friday and Christmas spending.[1] To help ease the struggle, we’ve put together some top tips on saving money on gifts this holiday season and have revealed how much money vouchers can help save during the Christmas period! 

The cost of living crisis - how is it affecting Christmas spending?

With the cost of living crisis still hanging over the nation, finding the cash for Christmas is going to be tougher for many families this year. New research from ShipEngine, ShipStation and Retail Economics has revealed that households will have around £3bn less to spend this holiday season.[1] 

As part of the research, around a third (34%) of UK consumers stated inflation as a main reason for cutting back, while 22% named a lack of savings.[1] Circumstances beyond shoppers’ control are making it harder for Brits to fork out on holiday spending. 

To get over these challenges, many are planning to spread the cost over a longer period by starting their shopping earlier. The majority of UK consumers are also looking to spend digitally, with nearly two-thirds (64%) stating they will shop online.[1] Overall, UK consumers are set to spend £17.9 billion on online marketplaces, between Black Friday and Christmas.[1] 

How to save money on gifts this Christmas

We know that this Christmas will be financially challenging for many families. But, having limitations on spending shouldn’t limit your enjoyment of the holidays, so we’re sharing our top tips on how to save money on gifts.  So, here are some budget-friendly ways to treat your loved ones this Christmas: 

Make budgeting fun by setting gift rules with friends and family: 

One of the best ways to avoid overspending is to set down some gift ground rules for Christmas. For example, you can talk to your family and friends and set budget limitations.

A good guideline is to use the four-gift strategy: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. Of course, if needed, you can replace these rules with others that better fit you!

Spread the gift responsibilities through a game of Secret Santa:

Buying gifts for every single friend and family member can quickly add up the spending costs. Instead, why not suggest spreading the gift responsibilities among everyone? Secret Santa is a good way to go about this.

If you’re new to this time-honoured tradition, it simply involves everyone getting assigned one member of the group (secretly) to buy a present for. This way, everyone gets something while only having to buy one gift. Plus, it’s a good bit of fun that all the gang can get excited about!

Regifting: a greener way to celebrate Christmas:

Not everyone is a fan of regifting, and you definitely have to be careful when doing so. But, if you have gifts lying around the house that you never got around to using, why not regift them to someone who will appreciate them? It will cost you nothing, and it’s a more sustainable way of celebrating Christmas - everyone wins!

Buy second-hand for unique gifts filled with thought:

Savvy shoppers know that buying second-hand opens up a world of bargains. Charity shops and other second-hand stores can provide you with a wide range of gifts for loved ones for a highly reduced cost. Sometimes, you can find items that are practically brand new, too!

Zero-cost ideas: gift your time and effort:

Gifts don’t necessarily have to cost money. If you don’t have the budget to buy something, why not give your time and effort? For example, you could create a Christmas chequebook of “I owe you” tickets. Your loved ones could cash in a breakfast in bed from you, a movie night at home, a massage, or anything else you can come up with. 

Likewise, you can create homemade gifts using materials you already have. Do you know how to knit? Make someone a scarf! Are you good at drawing? Do someone’s portrait! Just think about the things you’re good at and how you can offer them as a gift. Chances are they’ll really appreciate the thought and effort - they might even value it more than a store-bought product! 

Make the most of online shopping’s advantages:

When picking up presents online, try to make the most of all the perks that come with it. Keep an eye out for online-only deals where you can and remember to compare prices across a range of retailers to ensure you’re getting the best price. There’s an array of free price-tracking sites online that can help you out with this!

Utilise deals, offers and discount vouchers:

When money is tight, being clever about your Christmas spending can be the answer. Be sure to keep an eye out for any deals and offers, and utilise discount vouchers to make your shopping experience more budget-friendly. This will help you to get more for your money, allowing you to enjoy the holidays without breaking the bank. 

How much money did our voucher codes save last Christmas?

One of the best ways to save money this Christmas is through the use of vouchers. In fact, last Christmas our vouchers helped consumers save approximately £1.8 million over November and December! [2]

Here is a breakdown of how much money our vouchers saved, by month:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
MonthAmount Saved
November 2022£1,044,821.91
December 2022£737,958.61

These figures encompass a wide range of shopping categories and online retailers, giving you plenty of saving options for gift-buying and other holiday-related spending.

Out of the two months, November brought about the biggest amount of savings for our customers, showing that it’s worth getting started on your Christmas shopping early. Especially as it also makes use of the money-saving opportunities Black Friday and Cyber Monday present!

About this data:

[1] Consumer plans to cut back on holiday spending were taken from research conducted by ShipEngine, ShipStation and Retail Economics. Surveys providing the data were undertaken by Retail Economics in August 2023 and include answers from a sample of more than 8,000 nationally representative consumers.

Household disposable incomes and online marketplace sales were also sourced from research conducted by ShipEngine, ShipStation and Retail Economics. It used a combination of official national statistics (e.g. Eurostat, U.S. Census Bureau, ONS) and Retail Economics proprietary data.

[2] Savings data was sourced from MyVoucherCodes transactions for November and December 2022.  

Sarah-Jane Outten

Hi, I’m SJ. I’m an editor and content executive here at MyVoucherCodes. I started my journey here as a deals expert which gave me the skills to become a money-saving expert. You can find my tips and recommendations in various publications including The Sun, The Mirror, and The Telegraph.

I gained a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2018, and I’ve put my writing skills into many projects since then. My portfolio at includes my work with Cardiff Times, Buzz Magazine and more. 

I write poetry and short stories for pleasure and enjoy getting creative with watercolours and lino printing. I hope that I can merge my love of writing and art into a children's book in the future - watch this space!