HOUSEHOLDS are expected to spend about P37,106 each to celebrate Christmas, according to a study conducted by a remittance company.

The Philippines’ estimated Christmas spend is eighth-largest among 15 economies surveyed by WorldRemit.

“Christmas celebrations begin as early as September and extend until January in the Philippines, making it challenging for many families to afford the basic costs of Christmas,” WorldRemit said in a statement.

Households in Lebanon, Canada, and France were found to have the top Christmas spending levels.

Other countries that were part of the study were Mexico, Australia, the US, the UK, Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Ghana, India, and Uganda.

The study showed that Filipinos reserved the highest proportion of their expected spend to gifts, which will account for about 48% or P17,922 of their holiday costs.

Food accounted for 45% or P16,688 of the holiday budget. Decorations were expected to take up 3% or P2,496.

WorldRemit said overseas Filipino workers strive to ensure that families back home have enough for holiday spending.

“The Christmas season is the perfect time to celebrate old traditions and create new ones with friends and family across the globe. One tradition that is all too well known for Filipino households with friends and families overseas is sending money in lieu of gifts,” Earl Melivo, country director of WorldRemit Philippines, said in a statement.

The Philippines is the fourth biggest recipient of remittances, following India, China, and Mexico, according to the World Bank. Such inflows support household spending, which accounts for about three-fourths of the Philippines’ economy.

The central bank estimates that cash remittances rose 5.2% year on year to $2.737 billion in September. In the year to date, remittances amounted to $23.117 billion, up 5.6%. — Luz Wendy T. Noble