Consumers are each set to spend an average of £445 on Christmas this year, with children about to receive an average £132 worth of presents, according to a survey.
Just under half of parents (47%) feel pressured to spend more than they can afford, the poll for MoneySupermarket.com found.
Spending will be highest among 35 to 54-year-olds at £491 per person, falling to £423 for those aged 55 and over and £415 for those aged 18 to 34 - with the average of £445 up 1.8% on last year's figure of £437 per person.
But one in five (19%) expect Christmas buying to take them further into debt, with 15% expecting their December salary to cover spending.
Of the parents surveyed, 67% were cautious about spending due to the financial climate and 47% felt pressure to spend more than they could afford on their children, while a third (34%) were prepared to spend "whatever it takes" to give their families a happy Christmas.
MoneySupermarket financial expert Clare Francis said: "Christmas shopping is a significant area of expenditure for parents in particular.
"And with only one pay day left for most people until Christmas, it is important to take steps now to manage your finances in the run up to the big day - and beyond.
"A recent survey of MoneySupermarket visitors found only 37% will fund Christmas using disposable income this year, with an encouraging 34% planning to use their savings.
"Using a credit or store card was the next most popular option for one in 10.
"A credit card offering interest free purchases could be a good option for those looking for flexibility and an efficient way to spread the cost of Christmas. However, anyone taking up this option must ensure they are able to pay off the debt into the New Year."