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Students: what's the most important thing to you at Christmas?

11th December 2013

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Christmas: a time for vegetating in front of festive-themed TV, covertly picking up gifts whilst your friends' backs are turned, and, of course, spending time with your nearest and (probably) dearest.

It turns out that, aside from the presents and food and general relaxation, family is the most important thing to students at this time of year – which is nice to know, and gives us a lovely festive fuzzy feeling.

We don’t think it’s that surprising really – with most students having left home for the first time to go to uni, you’d probably be a bit heartless if you weren’t looking forward to skipping off home to see your family over the festive season.

Unfortunately, although it does look like we’re valuing parents/assorted siblings/drunken uncles more than might have been predicted, there is one thing that is dampening the general student spirit.

You guessed it – it’s money.

Research carried out by NUS extra found that 63% of respondents said spending time with family was what they were most looking forward to this Christmas - but 50% expressed concern about money and being able to afford presents for family and friends.

On average students keep their gifts for parents, siblings and friends under £20, but 30% are spending more than £50 on their boyfriend/girlfriend/partner, and 41% said that they will be buying for a pet.

It might seem harsh, and we’re sorry to point it out – but if you’re worried about money maybe skip on buying festive treats for Snuggles the rabbit. Apologies, but he isn’t going to know. Really, he isn’t.   

Alex Butcher, Marketing and Partnerships Manager for NUS extra, said: “The cost associated with Christmas can cause a lot of worry and stress if you don’t have much money. Presents for family and friends, and travelling home means that the festive season can be an expensive time and it is all too easy to get carried away.

“There are little things you can do to help manage your finances at Christmas, but if anyone is concerned about money then speak to the finance office at your university’s union; they have specially trained advisors to help you.”

For more information on the NUS visit

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