‘Tis the season to spend money...

Christmas spending is expected to rise by 3.5% to £40.3 billion this year, according to research by Deloitte, with online sales alone expected to increase by 19%.

The cost of Christmas including gifts, food and all the celebratory trimmings, will work out at an average of £904 per UK adult, according to a poll by American Express. So, if you’d have skipped the festive season, you might be nearly a thousand pounds better off.

Of course not everyone spends that much, but the painful-to-the-pocket truth is that Christmas has somehow become inextricably linked with spending in the UK.

Two of the big sellers this year - the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4- both clock in unnervingly close to the £500 mark, while at the other end of the scale the provocative Harvey Nichols ‘Sorry, I Spent It On Myself’ campaign offers ultra-low-budget gifts that range in price from 47p to £1.89. Harvey Nichols’ gift collection promotes the idea that we could do with spending a little less on others and a little more on ourselves this year. The gift collection and accompanying campaign have provoked a flurry of activity on social media, and have also been heavily featured in the news.

The ostentatiously stingy gifts, which include: ‘Christmas Lunch in a Tin’- which has already sold out- the ‘Non-Swiss Biro Pen’ and the ‘Elastic Band Gift Set’, are designed to provoke shoppers into self-indulgent spending by encouraging them to splurge the money meant for gifts for others, on themselves. While the advert and gift collection may be tongue-in-cheek, it does highlight how Christmas spending has become a central part of the festivities over the years.

With the pressure to spend money on gifts in the limelight, the whole process can start to feel a bit much. Christmas is about more than spending, and the ‘Sorry, I Spent It On Myself’ collection could perhaps act as a reminder to shoppers to think twice about extravagant more-than-you-can-manage spending habits, especially at a time when the pressure is on.

Julia Bowe, Group Press & Marketing Director at Harvey Nichols, said:

“At this time of year, it can be all too easy to get caught up in the spirit of giving. We hope that our new ‘Sorry, I Spent It On Myself’ gift collection will provide our customers with low-cost gifting options for others that will allow them to spoil themselves that little bit more this Christmas.”

Whether you’ve spent it on yourself, spent it on someone else, saved it up, or even a mix of the above, remember that it’s the thought, not necessarily the price tag, that counts!