First Holy Communion spending on the rise as family bill tops £500
NORTHERN Ireland families spent more than £500 on their child's First Holy Communion this year.
A survey also found that the amount of cash given to children has also increased, with spending on presents reaching a five year high.
Children received an average of £350 in gifts - an increase of 16 per cent compared with 2016.
The survey by Ulster Bank sampled parents living in Northern Ireland with a child who made their First Holy Communion this year.
Figures reveal the average bill for the day hit £538 this year, an increase of £39 on last year.
The majority of the bill for the day itself was spent on the party, celebrations or food and drink with parents spending an average of £245 - the highest recorded in recent years.
Children's outfits accounted for 30 per cent of the total amount spent, an average of £161 - up by 26 per cent 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.
Just under £50 was spent on treatments including make-up, fake tan application and hairdressing services for children and family members.
But for parents with boys, the cost was slightly less with an average of £473 spent - an increase of just £15 from 2016.
Expenditure on children's entertainment has also risen significantly, increasing by 47 per cent this year compared with the previous year.
Children, on average, received £350 in gifts this year, compared to £302 in 2016. According to the study, toys remained by far the most popular item children spent their money on, 57 per cent, followed by clothes and sports equipment.
Sean Murphy from 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."