Brits pay the price for multiple Christmas days

By UK CreditCards.com

This Christmas is set to be an expensive one, with research from American Express suggesting that nearly half of Britons will celebrate Christmas Day more than once.

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The credit card provider found that people are so determined to fit in various friends and family members that many have arranged to attend several gatherings. As a result, the cost of the festive season for many consumers has risen, particularly for those who plan to host more than one get-together themselves.

49% set for more than one Christmas
The latest research from American Express shows that 49% of people in Britain will be enjoying more than one Christmas celebration this year. Whereas the event used to be celebrated once on December 25th, people now make more of an effort to accommodate extended family, in-laws and friends. The research suggests that 30% of people will even be attending or holding more than one celebration on Christmas Day alone.

Hosts to spend £4.1bn on guests
This extended festive period is unlikely to come cheap, as American Express calculates that hosts will collectively spend £4.1bn on food, drink and entertainment for their guests this year. On average, people with family or friends staying over will spend in the region of £144, although 23% revealed that they expect to spend more than £200.

Julie Hay, head of American Express' Platinum Cashback Card, said: "The face of contemporary Christmas in the UK is changing. Thanks to extended families and the rise in multiple celebrations, many people no longer have just one big gathering around the tree. Having loved ones to stay and going to stay with others is all part of the tradition and fun of Christmas, but the costs can add up when visitors descend."

Rewards credit card 'could lighten the load'
The credit card provider also found that 56% of hosts expect their guests to contribute in some way, such as by handing over money or bringing food or drink. However, 29% of men and 18% of women insisted that they did not expect to contribute when visiting another person's home. This means that many hosts could be left feeling disgruntled when their guests depart.

According to Ms Hay, hosts could make themselves feel slightly better by doing their shopping with a rewards credit card. While the actual amount spent on their guests would not decrease, they would at least have the bonus of cashback or reward points to look forward to in the new year.

"Asking for financial contributions from a guest can be a tricky subject to raise," said Ms Hay. "While not a solution to having an awkward conversation with a guest, by using a rewards credit card to purchase all the additional and unexpected costs for hosting Christmas, consumers can still earn cashback to lighten the load -- which could be especially welcome if they open their doors to guests next Christmas too.

See related: One in three could face Christmas debt hangover in 20126 Christmas credit card tips

Published: 22 December 2011