Christmas spending
Kenya was one of the 14 countries observed. The study showed that the majority of Kenyan households spend over half (54 percent) of monthly income on Christmas costs. [Photo/ Courtesy]

With the holiday season kicking off, families around the world are making plans to celebrate the season with unique traditions, once-a-year meals, gifts and more. In line with this exciting time, global payments company WorldRemit conducted a multi-country study to determine the true cost of Christmas in 14 countries, mining data to showcase the average costs of traditional Christmas meals, decorations, and gifts.

Kenya was one of the 14 countries observed. The study showed that the majority of Kenyan households spend over half (54 percent) of monthly income on Christmas costs.

Rwandans are most impacted by the disparity between average household income and holiday costs, spending 708 percent of their monthly income and nearly 60 percent of their annual income on the holiday.

Six countries observed – Mexico, Lebanon, Philippines, Cameroon, Nigeria, Rwanda – spend 100 percent or more of monthly income on Christmas, meaning most households must dip into savings, borrow, or receive support from friends and loved ones abroad through remittances to celebrate Christmas. Without remittances into these countries, celebrating Christmas would be near impossible.

More than 244 million people are classified as immigrants around the world and account for large percentages of populations in countries like the United States (14.4 percent of total population), UK (9 percent), Australia (30 percent) and Canada (21.5 percent).

During the holidays, immigrants and overseas foreign workers are often unable to celebrate with their families in person and find themselves working to support not only themselves but also their families and communities back home.

Christmas is one of the primary reasons immigrants and migrants send money back to their home country. Because of the high cost of coveted seasonal items, food, and the overall impact COVID has had on supply chain and inflation, it is vital for remittance senders to be able to support those dearest to them by helping make Christmas a reality for their loved ones.

For example, of the 14 countries observed that typically receive remittances, 10 spent more than 50 percent of their monthly household income on the holiday. A holiday that would be impossible without remittances, the season of giving becomes vital, where the world’s largest send markets typically only spend less than 3 percent of their annual income on the holiday.

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