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Helping each other through the festive season

The True Value of the Festive Season is in the memories made.

We can help you #DitchTheDebt if money is weighing down your holiday.

We love the festive spirit, but what do people truly value most this winter?

Many of us worry about overspending or are already struggling with money.

Our recent YouGov survey showed that:

  • Almost half (45%) of people most value spending time with loved ones
  • Only 11% valued gift giving
  • 2% valued receiving gifts*

*Figures from YouGov Plc. Sample size was 2061 adults. Survey was done online between 8th - 9th November 2023. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

It is easy to get swept up in gift giving, but remember:

  • If you feel stressed about money, it is never too early for debt help
  • 92% of StepChange clients wish they got help sooner**

**Survey of 2,744 StepChange clients – Aug 2022

The guides on this page are designed to:

  • Empower people with money worries
  • Help you recognise the signs of debt stress in others

Scroll down to hear from our clients and for our top tips to cut festive costs.

If money worries are getting too much for you, we can help. Get free debt advice online, any time.

Christopher on Feefo says:

"Brilliant amazing Stepchange!"

"It is hard to express fully the gratitude I feel... You have lifted a huge amount of stress from my shoulders, and have helped me to enjoy life again and be around my family in a positive way. Thank you!"

Get help like Christopher

household bills iconOur Top Festive Tips

This time of year reminds us to be with the people we love.

But it is easy to fall into debt trying to make the season perfect.

Taking out credit for gifts is risky. And you do not need to spend loads to have a lovely meal or a magical day.

  1. Go through your budget
  2. Start early
  3. Manage your gift list
  4. Shop for deals
  5. Get creative

1. Go through your budget

This will help you know what you can afford to spend this festive period.

StepChange has a step-by-step guide to help you:

  • Create a budget
  • Understand your finances

2. Start early

Planning ahead is the best way to save money at any time of year.

  • Start saving at least a few months before if you can.
  • Even loose change in a jar adds up over time
  • Decide plans with family in advance
  • This can help you budget if you are sharing food and gift costs
  • This also means you can start looking for deals
  • Buy wrapping and cards in the January sales
  • Buy in advance to avoid the festive rush and increased prices

3. Manage your gift list

You do not have to buy gifts for everyone.

Ask friends and family how they feel. They may want to reduce costs too.

  • Set a spending limit per person and stick to it
  • Ask family members to pool for a big gift, rather than buying small or cheap gifts
  • Helps make things affordable
  • Reduces clutter and waste
  • Think about doing a Secret Santa or White Elephant
  • Everyone only buys one gift

4. Shop for deals


  • Use cashback websites and voucher codes when you buy online
  • You can use these throughout the year
  • You might get extra savings by signing up to mailing lists (you can opt out later)
  • Buy second hand
  • Save a fortune on pre-loved books, toys, and clothes
  • You can buy second hand online or in charity shops


  • Switch to a cheaper supermarket
  • Buy items in advance if you have the freezer space
  • Look for deals and vouchers online too


  • Book tickets in advance
  • Make the most of off-peak discounted travel, family travel or rail sales
  • Opt for the bus or ride share

5. Get creative


Why do we have to buy things at all?

You could offer a service or experience like:

  • Doing someone's washing
  • Cooking dinner
  • Babysitting

Or you could get really creative and organise:

  • A day playing their favourite game
  • An afternoon teaching them a skill
  • Taking them to a special place or free event


A turkey with all the trimmings is expensive.

You could:

  • Opt for a potluck
  • Ask guests to bring a dish of their choosing
  • Make a favourite meal instead of a "festive" meal
  • See what other cultures eat at this time of year

We're here when you need us

We understand that you might not want to deal with money worries or debt stress over the festive season.

Just know that we're here for you whenever you're ready.

Find out how we help

Mental Health UK kindly supported us in writing these guides.