At a Glance
Tis the season for holiday spending – and the stress that comes with it. Credello surveyed 799 Americans aged between 18 and 54 and the results revealed that people are indeed feeling stressed about the financial strain of the holidays.
This makes sense: While the holidays can be filled with joy and togetherness, they can also be synonymous with a hectic schedule, navigating challenging family dynamics, and figuring out how to buy gifts for everyone on your list without getting in debt. Throw in the cost of living crisis, and inflation and you’ve got a recipe for financial stress.
Key takeaways on holiday spending and stress
- Out of 799 respondents 669 or 83.7% of respondents said they feel at least moderately stressed and above due to holiday spending.
- Of those that find holiday spending stressful, two-thirds or 67.02% said gifts were their top source of stress in terms of holiday spending.
- Over half of the respondents (51%) feel pressured to spend more on gifts to match social expectations.
- Despite the stress associated with holiday spending, people are still willing to partake in festivities: 38% of people would not consider a no-gift holiday season and 44% of people have never skipped a holiday event to avoid spending money.
- 55.4% said they did implement extra self-care during the holidays compared to other months.
- The top five ways people manage holiday financial stress are sleep (50.7% of people selected that response), positive thinking (41% of people selected that response), exercise (40% of people selected that response), practicing self-care or stress-reduction techniques (38.3%) and spending time in nature (22.6%).
Holiday spending is a real stressor
Holiday spending is a very real stressor for Americans, with one in five people feeling very stressed or anxious about holiday spending. Furthermore, nearly 30% of people are feeling moderately stressed or anxious about it and 10% of respondents are even extremely stressed or anxious about it.
What’s the biggest source of stress? Gifts. Two-thirds of Americans said that it’s their top source of stress in terms of holiday spending and over three-quarters of respondents (76%) reported feeling pressured to spend more on gifts to match social expectations.
Having kids impacts stress levels (but not in the way you think)
Having kids impacts stress levels, which is not surprising considering those lists to Santa. But shockingly, the more kids married people have, the less they seem to be affected by holiday spending stress: 27% of married people with one kid reported feeling very stressed or anxious, 31% of married people with two kids reported feeling moderately stressed or anxious, and 26% of married people with three kids reported feeling not stressed at all. Guess once you are past two children, you are just at a stagnant level of chaos during the holidays.
Could it be that parents of multiple children just get better at gift-giving on a budget? Or that they have more money to begin with, hence the ability to afford multiple kids? If you’re wondering how singles feel in all of this, single parents are unsurprisingly feeling moderately stressed or anxious about holiday expenses – 53% of them reported feeling that way.
People are still going to give gifts despite stress
Regardless of their marital status or family situation, one thing is certain across the board: the holidays matter more than money concerns. Despite the financial stress that accompanies the season, people are still going to buy gifts and attend events – 38% of people would not consider a no-gift holiday season and 44% of people have never skipped a holiday event to avoid spending money. Additionally, less than 5% of people practice a no-gift holiday.
Tips to manage holiday spending stress
Self-care is key for managing holiday financial stress – and it doesn’t have to be complicated. People are embracing simple but important habits to combat stressors, such as sleep (50% of people selected that response), positive thinking (41% of people selected that response) and exercise (40% of people selected that response).
Besides embracing self-care, there are other actionable tips that can make the season a little less stressful. Create a budget for the holidays so you can feel in control and know just how much you can realistically spend. To stick to your budget, focus on meaningful presents instead of expensive ones and shop early to catch discounts and deals. Consider homemade or personalized gifts, too. Even though it may be tempting to pull out your credit card to cover a gift, limit your use of credit cards to avoid debt and post-holiday regrets.
If you’re feeling stressed about holiday spending and buying gifts, you’re not the only one. The key is finding ways to celebrate without putting yourself in a bad financial spot.
This survey was conducted by a third-party survey platform – Pollfish, on behalf of Credello. The sample of 799 Americans (ages 18+ through 54) in the U.S. was surveyed on October 30, 2023. For complete survey methodology, please contact [email protected].