A tea pot covered in a green and white knit, two mugs, a gold bauble and a plate of mince pies.

Cost of Living at Christmas with cancer

Published: 14 December 2022

Updated: 2 November 2023


We know that the festive period around Christmas and New Year can feel overwhelming for many. The rising cost of living means that many people affected by cancer have tough choices to make this Christmas.


In this blog, you'll find practical tips and advice to help support you and your loved ones. If you need extra support during this time, we're here for you.

A selfie of Kerstin. Kerstin has short, brown curly hair and brown eyes. She is wearing a black cardigan and a black and white top. She is looking at the camera and appears to be sitting on a train.

Kerstin Digital Content Editor at Macmillan

Are you worried about money?

Christmas and New Year can be a difficult time of the year financially. If you're finding money a worry, it can help to review and plan for your everyday spending. 

Below are some tips that may help.

Christmas presents on a budget 

Making a list or plan may help you to organise your spending. It can also help you see how much money you have to spend and where you might be able to save. Here are our tips:

  • Get started with MoneySavingExpert's free budget planner tool.
  • Prioritise essentials like bills, food and mortgage payments first, before buying any presents. Be realistic about what you can afford.
  • Start budgeting early in the year.
  • If you are worried about debt, StepChange provides support and guidance.

Christmas cost of living payments 

It's okay to ask for help. If you are affected by cancer, there are a range of benefits which could help with the cost of living crisis and money worries. Try the following links:

"Something as simple as eating Christmas dinner with my children was like winning the lottery." - Clare

Celebrate in a way that works for you

A street with Union Jack flags and a street party in the background

Free events

Someone's hands crafting a Christmas wreath

Fun activities at home

A Christmas dinner with roast chicken

 Low-cost Christmas lunch

Discounted gift ideas

Clare, diagnosed with throat cancer

Coping with fatigue and side effects of cancer

How to talk to loved ones about what you can afford

Talking about money can be difficult. 

But if you have cancer, you might have new or unexpected costs. You might need to stop working, have higher energy bills to keep warm, or need to travel to appointments. 

By being open, you may find others feel the same way as you. It may help you plan ways to celebrate Christmas at a lower cost, or plan free activities to mark the occasion. 

Looking after your emotional wellbeing

Jenny is a Macmillan Support Line Welfare Rights Advisor. She is sitting at a desk and smiling at the camera. She is wearing a red top and blue jeans. On her head is a headset and she appears to be working at a computer.

Call us

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Speak to others on the Online Community

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About our information

This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan's Digital Content Editor team and checked by Macmillan's Cancer Information Development team.

Learn more about our Digital Content Editors and how we produce our cancer information.