SPENDING Christmas with the relatives may be painful - but it is certainly cheaper than talking to them on the phone, according to new research which claims £500m will be spent on calls this month.
Research from telecoms company Talk Talk estimates that as a nation we could spend as much as 164m hours - some 9.8bn minutes - calling family and friends from home over the festive break.
That equates to a national phone bill of as much as £500m, it says.
Many of us - including the children - make more peak-time calls during the holidays while we are at home, rather than work or school, the survey found.
Chief executive Charles Dunstone said: "It's hardly surprising that we all go phone mad over Christmas.
"With many of us spending more time at home over Christmas, December sees us typically making around a third more international peak-time calls and nearly 20% more national peak time calls from home."