First Holy Communion spending on the rise as family bill tops £500, figures show
Northern Ireland families spent more than £500 on their child's First Holy Communion this year, a survey revealed.
Spending on gifts reached a five-year high among a small sample of parents interviewed on behalf of Ulster Bank.
The average bill for the day hit £538 this year, an increase of £39 on last year.
Children received an average of £350 in gifts, a five-year high and an increase of 16% on last year, according to the research.
Most of the bill for the day itself was spent on the party, celebrations or food and drink (an average of £245), the highest recorded in recent years, while children's outfits accounted for 30% of the total amount spent (an average of £161), up 26% since 2013.
Parents of girls making their First Holy Communion saw greater expenditure, with the average spend on a girl's First Holy Communion equalling £609. This is £136 (29%) more than was spent on average on their male counterparts.
Expenditure on children's entertainment has also risen significantly (£107), representing an increase of 47% on 2016 (£73), and the highest recorded spend in five years.
Just under £50 was spent on treatments including make-up, fake tan application and hairdressing services for children and family members.
According to the study, toys remained by far the most popular item children spent their money on (57%), followed by clothes (26%) and sports equipment (18%).
Sean Murphy, managing director, personal banking at Ulster Bank, said: "First Holy Communion is a significant event for many children, and it is often the first time that they receive significant amounts of money from family and friends.
"With the majority of this money being put into savings account, we're pleased to see parents instilling the importance of saving into their children, even at this young age."