We're top Christmas spenders with average splurge of €943
WHEN it comes to Christmas, we are still the party animals of Europe.
Households are set to splash out an average of €943 on the seasonal celebrations next month, down from last year's splurge but still more than any of our European neighbours.
Most of the festive budget will go on gifts, with food and socialising also accounting for a big chunk of the spend, a survey conducted for consultancy group Deloitte shows.
And even though consumers are paring back festive spending, we still like to flash the cash. That will please hard-pressed retailers.
In 2010 and 2009, the people in Luxembourg were the biggest yuletide spenders. But the Christmas-crazy Irish are back on top of the spending league.
This has pushed Luxembourg households into second place, with average spending per household of €923 during the season of good cheer.
In contrast, the Dutch do not get too excited about Santa, gifts and feasting, with a Scrooge-like spend of just €260.
Of the €943 to be spent by each Irish household next month, some €520 will go on gifts.
Festive food, such as turkey and ham and the traditional plum pudding, will account for an average of €258 per household. And going out to parties and the pub will cost households €156.
The economic slowdown means that each home has reduced its spending by around €400 since 2008.
Last year the average Irish household shelled out €1,020 on seasonal celebrations.
This year there will be almost 10pc less spent on presents, with accompanying cutbacks on food and socialising.
Deloitte's Richard Howard said it was good news for retailers that people still intended to spend large amounts of cash at Christmas.
"It's interesting to see that Irish consumers have regained the crown of top spenders in Europe.
"Through the last number of years, it has been abundantly clear that despite the fiscal pressures they face, the desire to embrace Christmas and enjoy the festivities has remained strong."
Most of those surveyed said they were pulling back their spending because of the economic downturn, with around one-third of people citing debts as the main reason.
And savvy consumers have decided that they will focus more this year on buying less expensive gifts.
There is also set to be an emphasis on buying gifts that are on offer in sales. Useful gifts will also feature up near the top of the lists of many shoppers.
And own-label products are to feature heavily in shopping bags, the survey found.