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16 December 2013

Which countries are the most generous at Christmas?

Ireland tops the list, and the Dutch are the stingiest.

By Sophie McBain

So far I have spent a spectacular £0 on Christmas. Unfortunately, this isn’t out of principle – I’m not waging a one-woman anti-consumerism campaign – I’m just not very organised. According to a Yougov poll in November the average Brit plans to spend £820 on Christmas food, gifts and travel, so I really need to sort out my Christmas shopping soon.

Compare this with a Deloitte survey of European countries (which bizarrely includes Russia but not the UK) and this would make Brits the biggest Christmas spenders in Europe. As is, Ireland tops Deloitte’s list, with the average person spending €894.

Unsurprisingly given its economic woes, consumers in Greece are cutting back the most on Christmas spending, reducing their expenditure by 12.8%. But, Greeks still spend significantly more than Germans on Christmas (€451 vs €399.) In fact, only four countries spend less than Germany on Christmas: Portugal, Ukraine, the Netherlands and Poland.

Of these, the Netherlands is the real outlier. The Dutch only spend €286 on Christmas, just €18 more than the Polish, who are at the bottom of the list – but GDP per capita is almost double that of Poland. The Dutch spend less than 1 per cent of average income on Christmas, making them by far the stingiest festive gift-givers. The Irish, in contrast, are the most generous, spending almost 3 per cent of average income on Christmas.

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