Page last updated at 17:46 GMT, Monday, 21 December 2009

Paying for Christmas: Your comments

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A study published by the Financial Services Authority has revealed that parents will spend an average of £442 on Christmas this year, with spending down on last year because of money worries.

More than a third said they are worse off financially than last year, while only half said they feel better off.

We asked BBC website readers how they are paying for Christmas.

Below is a selection of your comments.

We're pretty skint at the moment so myself and my partner are going to make stuff for our family instead of buying gifts. We're making fudge and other sweets, and as a present to my partner's mother we shall be cooking the Christmas dinner for her. It's all about giving something that takes time and effort but not money:)
Reid, Grimsby

I shall use the best way of saving money - ignoring the depressing, hypocritical, over-rated tosh that is Christmas!
Laura, Hull

We (my husband and I) will invite elderly friends and neighbours to join us for a festive lunch on Christmas Day. We have done this other years and it makes more sense and creates a happier Christmas. We also watch out for our neighbours and friends throughout the year not just at Christmas. I do not see my family at Christmas as I feel they have enough stress and they need more than ever to be together without adding to the workload, they know we love them all. A Smith, Abergele

Among our family, we have decided not to buy presents for adults any more, only the children. When the children are 16, we have decided to send what would be Christmas present money to Oxfam to buy a toilet, or water purifier, or farm tools. British kids don't need anything because they have everything, and Christmas should be a time for giving to the poor, not giving to spoilt brats who will not even know who has donated the gift they are bored within five minutes after receiving it.
Dave Griffin, Ilfracombe, UK

My family pays for Christmas by not overdoing it. It's not rocket science. It's a case of (a) remembering that Christmas is about celebrating the birth of the most influential person ever to walk this planet (CHRISTmas, OK?) and a mega binge is just plain missing the point and pointless to boot, (b) remembering that what counts is who you are with and how you treat each other as people, not what you spend or how much you eat/drink, and (c) setting yourself realistic limits before you start spending, and then not going over those. It also helps to buy gifts over the course of the year and supplies in the course of the autumn. Spread the load, and don't overload. And if you can't afford it without credit, you can't afford it. Whatever you can't afford, forget it and don't waste emotional energy pining over it. You're better off without it.

Christmas this year will hopefully be like many previous ones. A family get together and a lot of happy chatter. Lovely.
Brain Damage, Shipley, England

Christmas will be tight this year but for the wealthy and rich and famous, some people are forced to work, I'm one of those who must work. Children want more these days too, but often don't understand that money really doesn't grow on trees. Christmas Day I'll be working and my three children will no doubt be wondering why I'm not there, but that's life in the UK - low pay and a disregard of employees feelings. While the bosses sit down to turkey, we will be working to keep them well fed and well paid.
Kevin, Romford

Anyone who has to have money to throw away at commercial enterprises to have a good Christmas should try to find out what they are celebrating. Wait till January and get sloshed with all the other idiots who think that's what it's about. Our Christmas will be centred round our church and our family. OK, mock, but it's your money you haven't got.
Prlovero, Reading

Restraint is the answer. It is possible to have fun even if you don't bankrupt yourself for six months to come. It's not necessary to spend hundreds of pounds on presents and another few hundred on food and drink. Our family agreed many years ago not to exchange gifts between aunts and uncles and grown up cousins. The end result is that less money is wasted and that we don't all end up with a pile of unwanted items. Children can be taught that a shortage of money leads to fewer presents, and its good for them to learn that. It's also not necessary to go mad with food and drink. You don't have to eat 10,000 calories on Christmas Day and Boxing Day! You don't have to drink a lake of booze every day either.
S, Birmingham, UK

I was unemployed for five months at the start of this year and although I have been working for nearly six months now I've been unable to save anything for the first time in 20 years of working life. So I've come to an agreement with family members to cap spending on presents, £15 each, maximum. Luckily we are a small family so the whole lot should cost me less than £100. Roll on 2010.
PresentSpendCap, Magor, UK

I honestly haven't been able to afford to save a penny. I'm on a minimal salary and (in hindsight) rather foolishly signed myself up for too many debts. I've struggled, especially this last couple of months with the ever increasing cost of fuel, without which I can't realistically reach my place of work. Christmas is a non-starter for me I'm afraid. Best wishes to all though.
Adam, Sussex

One word - carefully.
Rose, Aberdeen

Whilst I have some money set aside for Christmas, I can't exactly afford much as I've only spent the past two months working in a tough, low-paid part-time job. What I really need is proper full-time work to afford Christmas. I don't think the credit crunch has helped, nor has the media obsession with it - which has in fact exacerbated its worst effects by putting investors off. I think this will be a bleak Christmas for many people, especially those living on the breadline.
Ian Nelson, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire

I think people should start opting out of Christmas once they get beyond teenage years. No one I know enjoys it (apart from those giggly types that still find it amazing when they discover an automatic door) and it just causes family fall outs, tension and extra bills that none of us particularly need, especially during this so called "recession".
Louise, Lincoln, UK

I've got a radical approach to Christmas. Actually it's pretty simple. I set a budget and stick to it, which means people get something that fits within budget rather than what they think they deserve. These days I only exchange token presents with people and make a donation to a chosen charity. It makes Christmas so much less stressful - gone are the days where spending too much was ostentatious but spending too little was stingy, gone are the endless hours spent in queues to buy something followed by endless hours in queues to return it for a refund. Frankly I'm not interested in spending two days celebrating and then five months or more paying for it all. That's just silly however you look at it.
John B, UK

Easy, I won't buy what I can't afford. This year will be no different than any other - I can't afford to buy everyone everything I want to but I won't be getting myself into debt purely to please others with material possessions.
Dave, Bridgend

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