Americans Plan to Spend Over $150 on Christmas Dinner — Here Are Smart Ways You Can Spend a Lot Less

If you plan ahead for your Christmas dinner, you can save big.

With the holiday season in full swing, GOBankingRates asked Americans how much they expect to spend on hosting their Christmas dinner. According to the survey results, that amount is small compared with how much debt Americans incur during the holiday season.

Average Cost of Christmas Dinner: $152

According to the survey results, Americans plan to spend an average of $152 on the holiday meal. The first survey question asked, “How many people do you expect to attend your Christmas dinner?” The average number of dinner party attendees is approximately 11 people.

The second question asked whether respondents planned to pay for everything themselves, or if other attendees would be contributing. The breakdown of responses were quite clear: 64 percent of respondents said they’d pay for everything themselves, whereas only 36 percent said they planned to have others contribute.

When asked, “What steps do you take to save money on your Christmas dinner?” only one answer received more than half of responses: 55 percent said their strategy is to plan the menu ahead of time.

How Americans Save Money on Christmas Dinner
Planning menu before shopping55%
Asking people to contribute dishes to dinner24%
Buying generic items21%
Buying earlier and freeze food items to avoid Christmas markups19%
*Respondents could select all that apply.

Related: 20 Clever Hacks to Save on Your Christmas Decor

In terms of what they plan to serve, Americans revealed an assortment of Christmas dishes. Neck-and-neck were mashed potatoes, which two-thirds of Americans plan to serve, and ham, which 65 percent said they’d prepare for dinner.

Here’s a glimpse of the full breakdown:

The Most Popular Dishes Served on Christmas
DishPercentage of People Serving This Dish
Mashed potatoes66%
Vegetables such as carrots, turnip, parsnips52%
Turkey with stuffing50%
Macaroni and cheese49%
Green bean casserole48%
Roasted potatoes32%
Prime rib roast30%
None of the above5%

*Respondents could select all that apply.

See: Trump’s Trade War Will Make Your Holidays This Much More Expensive

How Much Americans Plan to Spend on Christmas Dinner, by Age and Gender

The overall average amount to be spent is $152, which is slightly more than what Americans spent on Thanksgiving dinner. Here’s a closer look at how much different age groups and genders plan to spend on Christmas dinner.

How Much Americans Spend on Christmas Dinner, by Age and Gender (Average)

Ages 18-24$151
Ages 25-34$210
Ages 35-44$197
Ages 45-54$126
Ages 55-64$145
Ages 65+$121

According to the results, millennials (ages 25-34) and younger Generation X respondents (ages 35-44) plan to spend the most on Christmas dinner: $210 and $197, respectively. Older Gen Xers (ages 45-54) plan to spend just $126. Older baby boomers (ages 65 and older) plan to spend even less: just $121, the least amount in the survey.

How to Save on the Cost of Christmas Dinner

If your Christmas dinner budget is less than what the average American is planning to spend on it, consider using these strategies:

  • Use coupons and promotional offers.
  • Ask guests to bring a dish.
  • Choose dishes with cheaper ingredients.
  • Avoid purchasing premade items and cook from scratch instead.
  • Get started shopping early for the best prices.

Check out 50 more tips for saving money during the holidays.

More on Holidays and Saving Money

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Methodology: The GOBankingRates survey posed the following questions to 528 Americans: 1) “How many people do you expect to attend your Christmas dinner this year?”; 2) “When you do your Christmas dinner shopping this year, do you plan to pay for everything yourself or will other people contribute too?”; 3) “What steps do you take to save money on your Christmas dinner?”; 4) “Would you volunteer and serve food to the community instead of cooking your own Christmas dinner?”; 5) “On average, how much do plan to spend on Christmas dinner this year?”; 6) “What do you plan to buy and cook for Christmas this year?”