Tips and Advice

It’s the Most Wonderful and Expensive Time of the Year

For many of us, the most wonderful time of the year is also the most expensive. Take a look at how much the average American is spending on Christmas.
By Susan Barnes
Updated on: November 10th, 2022

pile of christmas gifts It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but unfortunately to many of us it is also the most expensive time of the year. From late November through the end of the year there are holidays to celebrate, parties to throw or attend, gifts to buy, and even some birthdays.

Unless you decide to skip Christmas, you’re likely to spend tons of money. Funsherpa, a gift certificate company, decided to take a look at exactly how much the average American is spending on Christmas.

  • In a six year period, Americans spent the least in 2009 when a family budget for Christmas was $681. In 2012 it is estimated the Christmas budget for a family will be about $749. However, according to American Research Group, Inc. Americans will be spending about $854 on holiday gifts. The average between both of these would then be about $801.
  • It’s expected that parents will spend about an average of $271 per child this holiday season. Kids these days have it so much better don’t they?
  • Naturally the majority of the budget goes to gifts, followed by food and candy, décor, holiday cards, and flowers.
  • The average gift budget for a family in 2012 is $548.56.
  • Your gift giving budget will mainly be spent on your family, followed by friends, co-workers, and other folks. On average you’re looking at spending over $420 on your family alone.
  • So where does this big budget come from? 65 percent say they’ll use their salary or other income; about 38 percent admit to dipping into their savings though, some even admit to using all their savings. Others will turn to retailer reward points or borrow money.
  • Most consumers do their shopping in November, 22 percent shop in October, 16 percent shop during the first two weeks in December and 3 percent shop during the last two weeks of December.
  • Early shoppers were likely to spend 14 percent more than average shoppers.
  • The number 1 gift on everyone’s list? Gift cards. Clothing came in 2nd place while books, music, movies, and video games came in 3rd.
  • One of the most popular trends of the holiday season is self-gifting. Many are also turning to coupons for a better buy.

Do you agree with these numbers? Are you spend more or less than this for the holidays?