Christmas appeal as Aussies struggle to make ends meet

Maeve BannisterAAP
A charity says many Australians are finding the traditions of Christmas too costly this year. (Brent Lewin/AAP PHOTOS)
Camera IconA charity says many Australians are finding the traditions of Christmas too costly this year. (Brent Lewin/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

Millions of Australians are cutting back expenses and many will go without entirely as Christmas places pressure on already stretched household budgets.

More than 5.3 million people will not be able to afford a Christmas meal this year and 30 per cent of parents are worried their children will go without presents, research by the Salvation Army showed.

The survey of more than 2000 people found that almost 60 per cent felt more stressed this holiday season compared to 31.6 per cent the same time last year.

Almost one in seven parents worried their children would go without a traditional Christmas Day meal and more than 70 per cent of people surveyed are more mindful about how much they are spending.

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Nearly one in 10 people will rely on charitable support to get by this Christmas and of those, 48.9 per cent will be reaching out for the first time.

Behind every statistic was a real person and many were struggling to get by this year, Salvation Army's Major Brendan Nottle said.

"Never have we seen a time where the gap between the rich and poor has been so great," he said.

"These statistics clearly illustrate the continued and shocking impact that the cost of living is having on Australians around the country."

The Salvation Army's Christmas appeal is aiming to raise $25 million to fund its work across 400 centres and 2000 services around Australia.

Major Nottle said no one should feel they were alone this Christmas and urged people to reach out if they were in need.

He also called out those who could afford it to donate to the appeal.

"When you donate to the Salvos, it is the best return on investment you can get," he said.

"You are bringing the true meaning of Christmas to people, not only by providing practical help but by acknowledging that there are people who care and there is hope for the future."

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