Shocking statistics show silly season sadness
IT'S NO secret Christmas is one of the most stressful times of the year and for good reason.
There's presents to be wrapped, hams to bake and family to see, but new statistics show many Australians will have empty stomachs and stockings this year.
The Salvation Army has released research from Roy Morgan showing the hardships families face during Christmas time.
Christmas is a "financial nightmare” for 8.4 million Australians and 1.8 million believe they will be left in "worrying debt” after the holidays are over.
The pressure of the silly season means 611,000 Australians will need to sell their possessions to afford Christmas and 2.8 million know someone who will need to sell things to cover the costs.
And maybe the saddest statistics of all, approximately half a million children under 10 are likely to receive no presents and 12.2 million Australians know people who will be lonely this Christmas.
The Salvation Army's Major Paul Moulds said Christmas presents the challenge of helping tens of thousands of Australian families, some of which are struggling to get food on the table.
"Our biggest challenge at Christmas is finding ways to meet the needs of the huge number of people coming to us for care and assistance,” Maj Moulds said.
"Christmas is one of our busiest times of the year and when Australians who are experiencing hardship feel this the most.
"It reminds us how difficult circumstances are for some people, when people tell us that they're having to sell things just to scrape up enough money for Christmas, and others say that some children in their household will not even get one present this Christmas.
"The Salvation Army expects to help 70,000 families across Australia in the six weeks before Christmas and in the critical month afterwards.
"When families end up in a situation where they cannot afford food or life's necessities, they turn to The Salvation Army for help.
"At Christmas they do it in record numbers and this is why we need donations from the public.”
In contrast the Roy Morgan poll also found 8.6 million Australians either buy "way too much food” or "too much food” at Christmas time.
"When you compare that to our surveys that show that nearly half of our clients are forced to skip meals due to extreme financial hardship, the contrast is astounding and disturbing,” Maj Moulds said.
"In fact, 70% of survey respondents - which equates to a huge 13.2 million Australians - believe that the gap between rich and poor has been getting bigger.
"We are a nation known for standing by people in need.
"By donating to The Salvation Army's Christmas Appeal, you can give hope where it's needed most by blessing families in crisis with a Christmas they could never afford to have.”
To donate to The Salvo's Christmas Appeal or find other ways to help, visit www.salvos.org.au
This Roy Morgan research surveyed 1007 people aged 18 years and older from their consumer panel between October 28 and November 2, 2016 via an online poll.
The results were then projected up to the Australian population 18 plus, based on the respondent's age, sex and area of residence.