It’s only May… so why have people started Christmas shopping?

Shrewd shoppers are spreading the cost of Christmas over the year with 4.7 million Brits already making festive purchases.

Research by American Express has discovered, although the Big Day is still more than half a year away, many people have already begun buying gifts, organising Christmas getaways and purchasing travel tickets for the festive season.

And the credit card provider is offering tips to ultra-organised shoppers on how to maximise the financial benefits of early Christmas spending.

It said taking advantage of sales can help ensure you bag the perfect gift for a friend or loved one. Signing up to email alerts will ensure you take advantage of any offers coming up during the year.

Planning well ahead for Christmas getaways could mean you stand a better chance of tracking down the best deals on travel. American Express said you can book travel tickets as early as July for journeys over the Christmas period.

Meanwhile, using a card which offers cashback or rewards on spending means you may be able to buy gifts without spending any money. It urged anyone with these cards to check how many points or rewards you have built up.

Maggie Boyle, director at American Express said: “It’s great to see Brits taking a shrewd approach to their festive shopping by spreading the cost of Christmas over a longer time period, but even the savviest spender can see costs add up.

“If you are a festive early bird, putting your Christmas shopping on a rewards or cashback card now will allow you to get something back on your spending to treat yourself or your loved ones once the festive season truly begins.”

American Express’s research revealed Brits who had already spent an average of £658 on items such has tinsel, toys and train tickets.

The biggest amount of Christmas spending has been splashed on gifts, with an average of £162 going on presents. Pre-booking getaways to destinations such as Lapland and Christmas markets abroad accounted for the second biggest spend of £101. Travel tickets came third, with people spending an average of £90.

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