We hear this morning that Irish households will spend up to 40% more on Christmas trimmings and trappings than their European counterparts. I was amazed when I heard this on the radio this morning - not because I'm surprised to hear that the Irish are the highest spenders, but because this was deemed newsworthy. It's hardly a big reveal, after all. Irish prices are higher than prices anywhere else in Europe. We also tend to have bigger families - and, therefore, more people to buy for - than our European cousins. While people might be having fewer children this generation, previous generations have provided us with more aunts, uncles and cousins than others in Europe. The real story behind the headline is the amount of hardship this big spending will bring to families in Ireland. Mothers and fathers up and down the country will push themselves to the extremes to find the money to spend; getting into debt to provide the Christmas they want to give their families and friends. Instead of telling us how much we're going to spend, our media would be serving us better by telling us how to save money this festive season.