A new study by ING Direct found 12 percent of Aussies went into debt last Christmas but a change is in the air this Christmas.
Ing Direct spokesman John Arnott said real-time date from this year showed attitudes were becoming more prudent.
"When it comes to Christmas, people in the past have been pretty comfortable with getting their credit card out, really loading up the Christmas purchases on credit.
"Then January comes and the bill comes through and they do whatever they can to pay it off -- like taking money out of their savings account. It can take about three months to get back in balance.
"This year we are seeing people pull back and be a bit more prudent."
The study also compared Australia's Christmas spend to countries around the world and find that while we had the second-highest average monthly earnings, we spent the second-lowest percentage of those earnings on holiday cheer.
In supermarkets, meanwhile, the Australian Retailers Association predicted Australian consumers would spend almost $19 billion on grocery items this Christmas, up 2.5 percent on last year.
“We recommend all consumers hit the stores early next week to avoid the queues that inevitably form in stores at this time of year and ask that shoppers remain patient as retail staff manage the increased number of customers,” Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said.