It’s less than three weeks to Christmas and no matter how dismal the economic scene, it is still a holiday that most people enjoy and will celebrate, no matter how tight their budgets. The average spend this year is expected to be about €630.

Coming one day after the delivery of the 2012 austerity Budget, it may feel counter-intuitive to load up your wallet and hit the shops, even if it is Christmas.

But those of us lucky enough to still be employed and to have some disposable income are being counted on not to ruin the holiday – let alone the businesses – of our local shopkeepers and merchants.

Making a list, setting a spending limit per gift, not taking anything but cash or a debit card with your to the shops and not both, should help you stick to your own Christmas budget.