Charities fare badly in the seasonal spending binge, according to new research by the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy.
Cathy Pharoah, co-director of the centre at Cass Business School, and her colleague Tom McKenzie took data covering 46,099 households from the Office for National Statistics' Expenditure and Food Survey between 2000 and 2007 to analyse charity donations over each calendar year.
The figures show that average weekly household spending on alcohol rose by an average of 40 per cent each December compared with the rest of the year, but the average donation to charity rose by 19 per cent, from £2.03 to £2.41.
Spending on alcohol accounted for 10 per cent of the overall spending increase in December, but donations to charity represented only 0.6 per cent of the increase.
Researchers said they believed the average increase in donations could be accounted for by a 5 per cent rise in the number of people giving, not by individuals making larger donations.
Pharoah said: "We increase our spending to ‘eat, drink and be merry' much more than to support good causes. So there is room for charities to encourage people to switch a little more of their spending towards donations and give the sterling equivalent of a pint of beer to charity during the festive period."