Unwrapping the cost of your Christmas dinner

Tuesday 12 December 2023
Girl eating dinner

Among the twinkling lights and festive cheer, there is one tradition that stands at the heart of every holiday season: the Christmas dinner.

The festive spreads that fill our tables define the spirit of the season – a place to gather with loved ones, toast to the holidays, and enjoy our favourite foods. But this year, for many, affording Christmas dinner is more difficult than ever.

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Many children will wake up on Christmas to no stockings. No presents. No festive food. Your gift could change this.

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How much does the average Christmas dinner cost in 2023?

For a family of four, the cost of the beloved Christmas dinneris expected to be £31.71. This is a 1.3% rise on Christmas 2022. This cost included favourites like a frozen turkey, vegetables, and a Christmas pudding.

What's increasing the cost?

The surge in energy prices has increased the cost of food over the last year, leaving a lingering shadow over the holiday festivities.

Turkeys are getting expensive

Analysis from Assosia for the Grocer Magazine highlights that the star of the Christmas dinner – the turkey – is showing a particular spike in price this year.

Of the 21 frozen whole turkeys and turkey crowns analysed, 13 saw price increases of over 10% on average. The average cost per kg of turkey has surged by around 12%, reaching £7.51 per kg.

Alice a hunry sad girl sits at a table looking at empty plates

How much has the cost of Christmas dinner risen over the years?

The 1.3% rise in the cost of a Christmas dinner to £31.71 this year may seem modest.

However, when comparing the "cheapest possible prices for a set basket" in 2022, Good Housekeeping priced a festive feast for eight people at £29.36 last year. This was a 35% increase from the £21.72 cost of the same items in 2021.

What does this mean for families across the UK?

At Action for Children, we see the toll that food and energy costs are having on families across the UK. Children without a bed sleeping on the floor with just blankets. Families phoning us crying because they have no money to feed their children. Parents skipping means so that their children can eat.

Struggling to afford Christmas: meet Nathan

Like so many families, Christmas was a difficult time for Paula and her grandson Nathan. Instead of bringing joy, the festivities added to their financial worries.

Not having enough was tough. But not having enough at Christmas was worse.

The extra food, treats, and Christmas presents were expenses that Paula couldn't afford.

Luckily, we were able to help Nathan last Christmas

Read Nathan's story

Illustration of Nathan, a sad little boy in a small living room

We see stories like Nathan's all too often

  • Right now, there are 4.2 million children in poverty in the UK.
  • One in five UK children (2.6m) are living in material deprivation, going without the basics like warmth, fresh food, or a celebration this Christmas – with more than half (1.5 million) under 10.

So, it's no surprise that this year families are having to skip the comfort and joy of a homecooked Christmas dinner.

Too many children are growing up without the basics

Read the full material deprivation report

What you can do to help

You could help give a child their very own Christmas dinner. How? By becoming a charity Secret Santa for a vulnerable child.

Last year, your help meant we could reach children like Jess. Thanks to your generosity, we gave Jess' mum vouchers for food and presents. This meant they could have a Christmas dinner and Sarah could afford to buy the Christmas gift Jess had always wanted - her very own yoghurt and ice cream maker.

Mother with daughter in pyjamas

How to become a charity Secret Santa this year

It's easy to become a charity Secret Santa.

Simply visit our donation shop, choose your virtual gift, and donate to our Christmas appeal.

Alternatively, you could buy one of our brand-new, charity Christmas baubles to add a touch of festive glamour to your home while giving back to those who need it most.

By becoming a charity Secret Santa, you could help put the magic back into Christmas for a vulnerable child. The kind of magic that lasts a lifetime.

Be a Secret Santa

Many children will wake up on Christmas to no stockings. No presents. No festive food. Your gift could change this.

Choose a gift

Be a Secret Santa for a vulnerable child

Donate now