MORE than a quarter of Scots overspend so much at Christmas they are forced into extreme measures such as skipping meals, saying no to school trips and cancelling holidays.

Research of 1000 parents in the UK revealed Scottish parents will spend the most in Britain (£161.67 per child) on their children’s main present this year.

Barclays’ research launched yesterday shows 2017 is set to be an expensive Christmas for present buying.

Parents are expected to fork out an average of £128.80 per child on presents during the festive season according to Barclays — raising the total amount Scottish parents will spend on Christmas presents this year to a projected £118m across the nation.

The findings suggest the festive burden could in part be driven by poor financial planning, with a third (28 per cent) of Scottish parents admitting to leaving their Christmas preparations to the last minute.

Despite just under a third of Scots sensibly starting to save for Christmas between July and September, the same proportion (28 per cent) claim not to save money at all. Revealing the pressure that parents are under at Christmas, nearly one in three Scots (30 per cent) admit to dipping into their savings and overdrafts in order to finance presents, with just under one fifth (19 per cent) admitting it is a big financial burden.

More than a third (39 per cent) of Scottish respondents admit they’d be happy to spend as much as 20 per cent more on sold out gifts their children wanted through reseller sites.

Even more extreme, 13 per cent of Scottish parents said they would be prepared to spend more than 40 per cent on RRP for the perfect present.

Showing just how pressuring many find the festive seasons, 27 per cent of Scots overspend so much, they are forced into extreme measures such as skipping meals, saying no to school trips and cancelling holidays, and one in five Scots purchasing used items for children to keep costs down.

Clare Francis, savings and investments director at Barclays, said: “Christmas is a magical time of the year for children and parents understandably want to make it as memorable as possible.

“However, spending more than you can afford can lead to serious problems down the line, and it’s something we — as a nation — need to get out of the habit of.

“Too many of us are being moved into action by social pressures to spend huge sums of money on Christmas presents.

“If that sounds like you, decide to do it differently next year.

“Set a budget in January using something like Barclays Finance Manager to set up savings goals which can help you start contributing monthly instalments to a set pot of money and stick to your limit.

“If you have money to spare, then think of how you can make use of it — such as putting it into a Cash or Investment ISA, and extend the good times to later in life as well.”

Barclays Finance Manager is an online tool which can help people set savings goals and take a long-term view, and plan ahead for the financial impact of life’s ups and downs.

Barclays also offers a number of other tools that customers can use to help avoid the temptation to overspend such as the new ‘Your Cards’ feature on Barclays Mobile Banking allows people to set their own ATM withdrawal limits, and to switch off the ability to shop online.