New research shows a dark side to the silly season

THERE is another side to Christmas that has been revealed in new Roy Morgan research as the Salvation Army’s major Christmas campaign gets under way.

The research – commissioned by The Salvation Army – paints a disturbing picture of the other side of Christmas.

Results discovered

  • 2.7 million people aged 18-64  (18.6%) say they know at least 5 families who will experience financial hardship/poverty this Christmas.
  • Over 1 million people aged 18-64 (7.3%) say they know at least 10 families who will experience financial hardship/poverty this Christmas.
  • 10.6 million (71.7%) say the gap between rich and poor has been getting bigger.   (This has risen from 60% in 2011).
  • Almost 3.7 million people (24.9%) are worried about how they will pay for Christmas this year. 
  • 39.7% (almost 5.9 million people aged 18-64) say that their household buys too much food for Christmas Day.

“The disparity is incredibly sad,” The Salvation Army’s Major Bruce Harmer said.

“It’s heartbreaking that some families have more than enough food to share, while others are skipping meals and are unable to buy their child a Christmas present.”

Salvation Army statistics

The Salvation Army expects to help around 300,000 Australians doing it tough at Christmas.

It is expected that around 100,000 food vouchers and hampers will be distributed and 10,000 meals served to those in need.

The Salvos will also give out over 500,000 gifts and toys with the help of the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal.

Australia is generous

“Australia is a nation of people who stand by those in need,” says Major Harmer. 

“We have seen that recently in the outpouring of love and support for those suffering across the world.

“This Christmas let’s stand by those Aussie families who are doing it tough.

“By donating $29 to The Salvation Army Christmas Appeal, you can help put a present under the tree and food on the table, bringing hope to where it’s needed most.’’

To donate to The Salvation Army Christmas Appeal, please visit salvos.org.au or call 13 72 58 (13 SALVOS)

More statistics

If there are children aged 10-14 living in your household, how many Christmas presents, on average, is each child likely to receive from all members of the household?

  •  2.6% (393,000) said 1 present.
  •  2.9% (432,000) said 2 presents.
  •  2.8% (422,000) said 3 presents.
  •  2.1% (310,000) said 4 presents.
  •  2.5% (369,000) said 5 presents.
  •  2.1% (313,000) said 6 to 9 presents.
  •  2% (298,000) said 10 to 14 presents.
  •  0.6% (88,000) said 15 plus presents

How much money on average are you likely to spend for Christmas on a loved one such as your spouse, partner, fiancé, boyfriend/girlfriend?

  •  4% (591,000) spend between $1 and $25.
  •  2.4% (358,000) spend between $26 and $49.
  •  13.3% (almost 2 million) spend between $50 and $99.
  •  20.3% (3 million) spend between $100 and $149.
  •  5.4% (798,000) spend between $150 and $199.
  •  11.3% (1.68 million) spend between $200 and $299.
  •  4.7% (699,000) spend between $300 and $499.
  •  5% (741,000) spend between $500 and $999.
  •  2.2% (326,000) spend over $1,000.

Which of the following best matches what your family spends on food for Christmas Day?

  •  39.7% (5,866,000) buy too much food for Christmas Day.
  •  51.8% (7,684,000) buy about the right amount of food for Christmas Day.
  •  2.3% (342,000) don’t buy enough food for Christmas Day.


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