December 3, 2022
WGN9 recently published an article written by Jay Zagorsky, Clinical Associate Professor, discussing the right amount of money to spend on holiday gifts.
In hopes to find the perfect gift, Americans will spend about 15 hours shopping and shell out roughly $1 trillion on gifts, with women spending twice as much time on shopping as men. Retailers relish the holiday shopping season as a time when consumers open their purses and wallets, but for many consumers – especially those who do not like shopping – these days are filled with dread. Nobody wants to buy what they think is a perfect gift only to discover it is a dud, the long lines of people returning items after the holidays seem evident enough for that. One major source of stress is just how much to spend on gifts.
Economists argue there’s a “dead weight loss” to Christmas presents that destroys as much as a third of their actual value. Other economists, however, point to evidence that a present can have more value to the recipient than the price the giver paid. The typical U.S. family spends about 1% of its annual take-home income on gifts. While calculating a gift budget is one way to take the stress out of how much to spend, another idea is only giving gifts to children. Zagorsky states, “That keeps the cost down while making the kids feel special…Whether you have a paper fight or follow another family tradition, my main message is that it doesn’t take very much money to make the winter holidays memorable.”