WorldRemit breaks down the cost of Christmas

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ACCORDING to the latest results from a study conducted by WorldRemit, families around the world can expect to spend up to 156 percent of their monthly income on Christmas this year.

The “Cost of Christmas” study found that households in Lebanon will pay the highest amount compared to their average monthly income or about 688 percent. Meanwhile, families in The Netherlands will be least financially impacted, with costs only accounting for 19 percent of the average household’s monthly income.

With unique traditions, gift-giving ideas, and seasonal meals in every region, the global landscape sees a wide diversity of costs associated with the holiday season.

In its second year, the findings are part of WorldRemit’s 2022 Cost of Christmas Study, which observes how the changing macroeconomic environment affects the cost of standard Christmas elements, including the main holiday meal, average gift spending and decor, across 23 countries globally. In addition to the 14 countries from the initial study, the brand added 9 new countries this year to further observe the ways different cultures celebrate, and budget for, the global holiday. The study compares the average cost of food, gifts, and decor to average household incomes to determine the season’s financial impact on families around the world.

Year-over-year findings

Of the 14 countries examined for the second season, five are considered developed economies: United Kingdom, United States, Canada, France and Australia. The 2022 findings reveal the average seasonal increase across these five countries was 33 percent, with the UK seeing the greatest change, as prices rose more than 60 percent year over year for the Brits. This anticipated high cost is brought on by the drastic and sudden increase in inflation, which has forecasters predicting more extreme costs this season. Of these nations, France is the only country expected to save this year, with an 11-percent cost reduction across items observed. While costs across the three categories decreased less than US$50 each, the slight consistent change drove down costs overall, giving the French another reason to celebrate.

2022 – All figures are USD
CountryTotal Year-Over-Year Difference2022 Total SpendAverage Food Cost per HouseholdAverage Gift Cost per HouseholdAverage Decor Cost per HouseholdPercentage of Monthly Household Income
United Kingdom+65%$1,075.24$174.12$702.13$322.5435.60%
United States+44%$1,235.54$118.54$886.00$198.9927.82%

Of the remaining nine countries indexed (Cameroon, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Philippines, and Mexico), the average cost of Christmas increased by 9 percent, and the cost changes varied widely. While India (-2 percent), Kenya (-17 percent), and the Philippines (-38 percent) saw a reduction in costs this year, Cameroon (+56 percent) and Uganda (+34 percent) will see substantial increases. Of these nine countries, India was the only nation that can expect to spend less than an average’s month of income, with holiday costs accounting for 99 percent of the average Indian family’s monthly income. 

Across the 14 countries observed in both 2021 and 2022 studies, the increase in the Cost of Christmas was, in part, attributed to a rise in the amount of money allocated towards food over the holidays. This consistent increase in the price of food, which saw the highest increase (50 percent) year over year, compared to 13 percent and 21 percent increases across the other categories, means families globally will likely need to shift their budget planning to accommodate for the increased costs of holiday meals.  These findings reflect similar conclusions drawn in WorldRemit’s recent Cost of School and Cost of Living studies. Further details include:

  • In Lebanon, the average household spends 688 percent of their monthly income on Christmas celebrations
  • In the United States, the cost of gift and decor accounted for the majority of the total year-over-year increase, rising by +37 percent and +131 percent respectively
  • The United Kingdom saw the greatest increase in the cost of Christmas at 65 percent higher than 2021
  • Cameroon, Lebanon, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, and the Philippines are likely to spend more than 100 percent of their monthly household income on Christmas
  • Canada is preparing for the highest cost of Christmas among observed countries, totalling US$2,100.38 per average household

2022 study: findings of the nine additional countries observed

WorldRemit added nine new countries to the annual index, including Germany, the Netherlands, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Fiji, Spain, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala. Results show that Zimbabwe will be most impacted by this year’s costs compared to the nation’s average monthly household income, as most families can expect to pay more than 2.6 times their income on the holiday. Zimbabwe is a nation that is heavily impacted by remittances – in 2020, the inflow of remittances accounted for more than 10 percent of the nation’s GDP. Other countries, including Fiji and Morocco spend close to 100 percent of their monthly income on Christmas.

  • In Germany, more than 70 percent of the total spend (US$1,452.64) is allocated towards gifts
  • The Netherlands is likely to spend the lowest share of household income on Christmas at 19 percent
  • Zimbabwe spends US$208.70 on Christmas, which accounts for 266 percent of the average monthly household income
  • South Africa lands in the bottom quartile of countries analyzed, spending US$172.28 on Christmas
  • While Fiji only spends US$36.15 on food at Christmas, US$203.03 are spent on decorations and overall costs account for more than 85 percent of the average monthly household income
  • In Spain, the majority of the cost of Christmas is allocated to food at US$231.23 of the total US$499.37 spent
  • Colombia will likely spend 73 percent of their average monthly household income on Christmas in 2022
  • Families in the Dominican Republic can expect to spend US$179 on Christmas, with up to US$136 of this being spent on decorations
  • Guatemala’s households will spend US$315 on Christmas, which accounts for 96 percent of average monthly household income

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