Millennials serve up all the trimmings this Christmas

Younger generation of hosts set to spend £570 million* as trend for spending on ‘experiences’ spills into creating the perfect Christmas Day

  • Millennials are expected to spend on average £268 to host Christmas, equating to £570* million across the UK – over 50 per cent more than what their parents might spend on entertaining this festive season
  • The younger generation is upgrading the traditional Christmas meal into an unforgettable experience, splashing the cash on ‘festive extras’ as a third say their guests’ expectations are higher than ever
  • Rising food costs and providing the nice-to-haves mean Christmas hosts anticipate spending 13 per cent more this year than they did in 2016
  • With stress a top reason to avoid having friends and family round, hosting expert Ella Canby shares her top tips for a smooth Christmas

It’s time for Generation X to move over as millennials step up and splash the cash ahead of hosting Christmas Day this year.

New research from Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit transactions, reveals that millennial hosts (aged 18-34) are set to spend on average £268 each to host Christmas. This equates to £570 million* across the whole of the UK –over 50 per cent more than the £360 million** expected to be spent by those their parents’ age (55 – 64).

It does not appear that the older generation will be too put out, however, with six in ten festive revellers aged 45 to 64 preferring to pass the buck and be a Christmas guest this year.

Millennials spread festive cheer

Of the millennial hosts who expect to spend more this year, a quarter (25 per cent) will do so to make Christmas an extra special event. This is no surprise, given a third (35 per cent) agree that their guests have high expectations.

Far from seeing Christmas as simply an extended Sunday roast, this younger generation of hosts plans to spend on average £35 on decorations for the house, £31 on party favours, £29 on decorations for the table and £29 on crackers – all above the national average – to immerse their guests in a holiday experience to remember. Many millennial hosts (70 per cent) will also fork out on festive extras such as Christmas games, films and music to keep their attendees entertained for the whole day.

Christmas item


National Average

Decorations for the house



Party Favours



Decorations for the table



Christmas Crackers




In December last year, Brits spent 40 per cent more in supermarkets compared to the rest of the year, according to Barclaycard data. When it comes to hosting the celebrations this year, however, millennials plan to up the ante, spending up to £153 million*** on food alone and a further £123 million**** on alcohol and soft drinks as they organise celebrations on the 25th.

Higher cost, higher contributions?

The cost of Christmas entertaining this year is only set to increase – whatever the age – with the new research revealing that over a third (34 per cent) of hosts anticipate spending up to 13 per cent more than they did last year. Nearly half (49 per cent) say the bigger bill is due to rising food prices although three in ten (31 per cent) will also be catering for ever-growing families and friends.

Despite this, it is not all doom and gloom; help for hosts may be on the way as 61 per cent of Brits agree that guests should contribute to the celebration in some way. Over two-thirds (68 per cent) of us would be willing to spend £28 on Christmas Day drinks and a further one in six (15 per cent) would even be willing to contribute up to £40 towards the festive meal.

While hosting Christmas can be expensive, the most popular reasons to shy away from having people round include the stress of preparing turkey with all the trimmings, (29 per cent) and simply finding enough space to fit in friends and family (29 per cent).

With this in mind, it is no surprise that almost half of Brits who celebrate Christmas (49 per cent) would consider eating out on Christmas Day – and would be willing to spend up to £45 per head dining at a restaurant – in order to avoid the washing up (64 per cent) and the heat of the kitchen (63 per cent).

Paul Lockstone, Managing Director at Barclaycard said:

“Over the past 18 months we’ve seen a trend for consumers to splash out on experiences, or times that are memorable for everyone involved. It seems millennials have really taken this to heart, extending their spending habits to the holiday season.

“Not only are they prepared to provide food and drink, but also a beautiful tablescape, hours of entertainment and fun favours to create a cracker of a day. If you’re invited to a Christmas hosted by a millennial this year, be prepared for anything but a Silent Night.

Ella Canby, founder of hosting agency Sugarella Cooks, said:

“While millennials are embracing the challenge of hosting Christmas Day, it seems many of us are still daunted by the thought of having friends and family round to ours. Expenses aside, the stress of hosting and simple logistics, such as having enough space for all the guests, are real considerations.

 “A bit of clever thinking and advance planning, however, can take some of the heat out of the kitchen from asking your guests to provide pudding, to preparing parts of the meal in advance – and even delegating the washing up to your fellow revellers!”

Notes to Editors

Consumer research was conducted by Opinium who carried out 2,003 online interviews (21st November – 24th November 2017) with a sample of UK adults who celebrate Christmas.

*Millennial host Christmas spend:

4.1% of millennials will host * adult population = 2,122,447

Average spend per millennial host =£268.20

2,122,447 * £268.20 = £569,249,695

**55-64 host Christmas spend

3.6% of those aged 55-64 will host*adult population = 1,889,496

Average spend per host aged 55-64 = £211.08

1,889,496 * £211.08 = £360,305,797

***Millennial host Christmas spend on food:

4.1% * adult pop = 2,122,447

Average spend per millennial host on food= £71.98

2,122,447 * £71.98 = £152,779,590.09

****Millennial host Christmas spend on alcohol and soft drinks:

4.1% * adult pop = 2,122,447

Average spend per millennial host on alcohol and soft drinks = £58.07

2,122,447 * £58.07 = £123,258,757.06

For more information, please contact Linda Yang at Barclaycard on or 020 3555 5586

About Barclaycard

Barclaycard, part of Barclays Bank PLC, is a leading global payment business that helps consumers, retailers and businesses to make and take payments flexibly, and to access short-term credit and point-of-sale finance. In 2016 we processed over £293bn in transactions globally. Barclaycard is a pioneer of new forms of payment and is at the forefront of developing viable contactless and mobile payment schemes for today and cutting-edge forms of payment for the future. We also partner with a wide range of organisations across the globe to offer their customers or members payment options and credit.

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