How to stick to your Christmas gift budget this year and avoid financial hangover

First of all, you might be wondering, “What is a healthy Christmas gift budget?”

There is no magic amount. The definition of a “healthy budget” is different for everyone, but according to a study by Commonwealth Bank in 2018, the average Australian spends $573 on Christmas gifts each year. The average household income that year was $116,584. To some people this will seem a high amount, while to others it will seem low.

So, if you wanted to base your Christmas gift budget on the average, and your household earns half of the average household income, then you might consider spending half of what the average Australian spends.

But we are not all the “average Australian”. A healthy Christmas gift budget to you, might just mean what you are comfortable spending, that doesn’t leave you with a financial hangover after Christmas and doesn’t leave you regretting your behaviour.

Some people put so much thought and/or money into gifts because they like to give gifts that people wouldn’t buy themselves, and they want to see the excitement when they open it. That excitement lasts about 45 seconds, and the pain can sometimes last months if you go over your budget.

Does the monetary value of the gift correlate to how much you love a person? Or is it how much thought is put into it?

The dollar amount you set as a budget isn’t the only question, it’s how you behave in relation to the dollar amount. Whatever dollar amount that you decide you’re okay with, you just have to stick to it. This may mean learning how to say no to higher priced presents. It may mean planning a little earlier, shopping during sale seasons to get more bang for your buck.

You can still give thoughtful gifts, stick to your budget, and make your family feel loved at Christmas. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Christmas gifts are not going to make or break a relationship. If they do, it wasn’t a real relationship. You’re not going to give people enough to change their lives. It’s a gesture.

Gift ideas

Thoughtful gifts

Find something on Etsy

Etsy a marketplace for unique and creative goods. You can find thousands of special items, from unique handcrafted pieces to vintage treasures. Many items can be personalised on request to make it extra special.

Framed family photo

Capture a treasured memory and put it in a nice frame. This is something your loved ones can treasure forever.

Photo gifts

At places like Kmart, Officeworks and Vistaprint you can get gifts customised with photos and text, such as coffee mugs, phone cases, canvases, calendars, key rings – you name it.

Hampers filled with all their favourite treats

Perhaps a bottle of wine, their favourite chocolates, biscuits etc, put it in a box with some cellophane. Bob’s your Uncle. This is one of my go-to gifts for the older members of the family.


Some people buy everything they want when they want it. A voucher for an experience can be something they would enjoy but something they wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves. look on sites such as Groupon and Red Balloon

Bake your own biscuits

Search online for a new biscuit recipe or use a family favourite, bake a big batch, then and wrap them nicely in cellophane.

Still stuck - try the four-gift rule.

If you’re stuck for what to get someone, try the four-gift rule: something they want, something they need, something to wear, or something to read. It’s simple and practical (and budget friendly). If you’re not sure what they might need—ask!

Use our fee Christmas gifts budget calculator

Use our Christmas Gifts Budget Calculator to help you stay within your budget this year. Budget for each person on your list and it will add up the total for you. It can also double as your shopping list to print and take with you to the shops.

* The information contained in this report is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs.


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