Medway Citizens Advice

Advice for Medway

Citizens Advice Medway is a registered charity that offers free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to the whole of Medway on a range of issues including Housing, Welfare Benefits, Employment, Debt, Family Law and many others.

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Christmas Debt Does Not Make For Festive Cheer - Press Release

13th December 2019

Christmas Debt Does Not Make For Festive Cheer - Press Release

Citizens Advice Medway is warning people against getting into debt to pay for Christmas.

The Advice charity is warning people not to rely too heavily on credit to get through the festive period, but recommends making presents and focusing on low cost Christmas events.

Dan McDonald, Chief Executive Officer for Citizens Advice Medway, said: "These are difficult times for a lot of us and the temptation is to say ‘at least we’ll have a great Christmas’ and use that as an excuse to spend what we haven’t got.

"Over indulging on presents for everyone in a mile radius is no longer in fashion.

"Most of us have seen our income squeezed significantly and will be scaling back so we mustn’t feel the pressure to over consume."

Last year the charity helped people who had racked up record levels of debt and saw firsthand the devastating after effects that overspending can have on families.

Dan McDonald continued: "Decide what you have to spend. Make a list and be realistic. Paying in cash may help you keep control. Let your children see your careful planning – you will be teaching them a valuable life-long lesson.

"It is fair to say that Christmas has become incredibly commercialised and so many people have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. You cannot buy love. Do not feel guilty if you cannot afford the latest present for your children. Your love and affection will last longer in the memory than any toy can and do not fall into the trap of reciprocal gift giving and buying out of obligation. Enjoy all the low cost things on offer – the lights in town, get togethers, making mince pies, playing family board games, seeing your kids in the school nativity.

"Sadly, the reality is that high levels of debt does not make for festive cheer."

Other Tips from the charity include:

  • Being realistic about how much you have to spend and clubbing together with other relatives to buy presents;
  • Manage expectations early. If things are tight do not be afraid to say so to family members. You will probably all be in the same boat and it may lead to a happier Christmas for them too;
  • See if relatives will club together with you to buy children what they would like, rather than individually over indulging them and all feeling out of pocket;
  • Buy fewer presents but cheaper trimmings like paper chains and Christmas crackers. They all add to the fun without costing very much;
  • Never take out a Christmas loan. Remember the possible consequences could be disastrous for you and your family;
  • Do not overspend in the January sales, in spite of how good a bargain you might see. Make a budget, stick to it, and if possible, leave those credit cards at home.



Dan McDonald

CEO, Citizens Advice Medway

01634 383 760

Medway Citizens Advice

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Telephone: 01634 383760
Fax: 01634 383767

3rd Floor Kingsley House
37-39 Balmoral Road