(Australian Associated Press)
More than 40 per cent of Australians are feeling stressed about Christmas amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Salvation Army.
It predicts more than one million Aussies are likely to go without food on Christmas Day.
Research commissioned by the Salvos and released on Wednesday found the economic downturn associated with COVID-19 was a major source of stress for many Australians as December 25 inches closer.
Some 41 per cent of Australians were feeling financially stressed about Christmas 2020, while almost one-in-three Australians admitted financial stress had significantly impacted their lives this year.
At least a quarter felt more anxious, depressed, lonely, stressed or uncertain than at this time last year, the Salvos said.
The charity said it would support more than 50,000 Australian families over the Christmas period, including distributing more than 130,000 meals.
“It’s obvious that it has been a huge year, with many people really struggling financially and emotionally,” Salvation Army head of public relations Major Bruce Harmer said in a statement on Wednesday.
“We know that not everyone is in the position to have a special Christmas this year, which is why we do what we do.”
The Salvation Army research also found more than one-in-eight Australians will go into debt to pay for Christmas in 2020, while at least a quarter will spend less on Christmas food, presents or family activities.
Some 1.1 million Australians will go without food for Christmas.
“After a devastating year, this Christmas really is more important than ever. The Salvos encourage Australians to be reminded about what really matters at Christmas, focusing on the values of peace, joy and hope,” Major Harmer said.
HOW AUSTRALIANS FEEL ABOUT THE 2020 FESTIVE SEASON:
* 41 per cent are feeling financially stressed
* 13 per cent will go into debt to pay for Christmas expenses
* 28 per cent will spend less on Christmas food compared to 2019
* 33 per cent will spend less on Christmas presents compared to 2019
* 10 per cent are concerned their children will not receive presents in 2020
* 11 per cent are concerned their children will miss out on food and basic living necessities over Christmas
* Nine per cent will approach a charity for help
(SOURCE: THE SALVATION ARMY)