RESEARCH has unveiled the lengths to which families in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire will go to as one third say they feel under pressure to have a ‘perfect’ Christmas.

According to a report by ISA provider Scottish Friendly, half of families in the south west say they will make sacrifices to buy Christmas presents and 15 per cent will delay paying bills, will take out a loan or will increase spending on their credit cards to make ends meet this Christmas.

Perhaps most shocking of all, the average UK household will take until April next year to pay off their Christmas debts.

People who were interviewed for the study said the pressure they felt came from other family members and friends, advertising, retailers and social media.

On average, the British public anticipate spending £342 each on presents this year with £303 of that going on credit.

Calum Bennie, savings expert at Scottish Friendly, said: “Christmas is a time for giving and it seems that spirit is alive and well in Britain in 2017.

“However, our report shows that the season of goodwill is putting significant social and financial pressures on us.

“Family, friends, TV advertising, retailers and social media are all combining to push us even harder in pursuit of a ‘perfect’ Christmas and in many cases that pressure is having a detrimental financial impact.

“Unsurprisingly many people want to forget financial problems at this time of year but splurging over Christmas is leaving many households with a hangover they can’t shift for several months.

“By all means enjoy the holidays but don’t become too reckless in the face of peer pressure or idealised visions of what Christmas should be from TV advertsing or retailers.

“With a bit of planning and restraint you will find you won’t end up out of pocket and in debt and will still be able to have an enjoyable Christmas”.