CHRISTMAS is a time of festivity and celebration, right? Yes, undoubtedly but it's also a time of spending money. Lots of money. The kind of money you never thought you would spend and yet, here you are, spending it. Hey, those crates of cherries aren't going to pay for themselves.
In 2016, Australians forked out $48.1 billion at Christmas time, and this year the forecast is predicted to be even bigger. So just what are spending all that (delicious, pudding) dough on?
It's not Christmas without an epic spread. Food is one of the categories that Australians are willing to spend big on this holiday season.
Today, Woolworths announced that it was expecting a bumper month of festivities. The supermarket is predicting that more than half a million smoked hams and 80,000 turkeys would be sold, paired with 1.2 million kilos of prawns and more than 1 million oysters.
For dessert, Australians will be chowing down on more than six million fruit mince pies, a whopping 900,000 punnets of delicious cherries - a third of all yearly cherry sales occur during the Christmas season - and, the Christmas hero fruit, 1.7 million super sweet mangoes. Maybe they'll sit atop one of the half a million mini pavlovas that will be sold during the Christmas season? Delicious.
In total, Australians are estimated to spend $9.1 billion on gifts this year, according to predictions from ING. ASIC has broken this down into states, noting that the Western Australians will be shelling out the most, with an average of $646 per person. The state spending the least on gifts is South Australia, with a budget of $505 per person.
The breakdown of funds for Christmas gifting leans heavily on existing money. Three quarters of all Australians pay for presents out of their savings account. And while a large chunk do put gifts on their credit card, ASIC noted that a growing number - 3% - will pay for everything under the tree using a Christmas bonus.
Unlike the food industry, which retails mostly Australian-grown fruit and seafood over Christmas, the decorations industry is huge for imports.
$10 million worth of Christmas tree lights and $58 million forth of other Christmas-related articles - from blow-up Santas to stick on your roof to tasteful nativity sets and yards of tinsel - are imported from overseas markets according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Ah yes, how could we forget Boxing Day, the happiest time of year for everyone except retail assistants.
Unsurprisingly, shopping peaks during the festive season on December 26, with major increases of foot traffic in department stores (up 64%), recreational goods stores (up 46%) and clothing boutiques (up 38%) according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
In 2015, $2.3 billion was spent across the country just on Boxing Day, by those brave enough to weather the 5AM wake-up call and all the crowds. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night (of shopping).
This article originally appeared on Whimm and has been republished here with permission.