Picking up Nickels

Friday, December 08, 2006

How much do you spend for Christmas?

In October, the National Retail Federation reported that the average shopper is expected to spend nearly $800 this year on holiday merchandise.

Although we have significantly downsized our Christmas spending over the past four years, the spending for this year should be even lower due to a reduced shopping list: One side of the family has eliminated the Christmas gift lottery for adults, and we've unfortunately lost a few elderly family members in 2006.

By my estimates, we spent approximately $1900 on Christmas gifts for about 23 people last year. While a decent portion of that is spent on toys for an army of children, nieces, and nephews, most of our "in house" spending tends to be for practical items (clothes, winter coats, household items) that we would have purchased anyway.

And while our $1900 bill appears to be much higher than the national average, I'm glad that we're fortunate enough to be able to share what we have with others while continuing to aggressively save and invest our money.

So... How much do you spend on holiday purchases?


  • Man you have a pretty large family. $1900 is a lot, but I guess if it gives you much peace in sharing..that's worth it.

    Personally, I won't be comfortable spending so much on christmas (or any other) gifts.

    By Anonymous Golbguru, at 12/8/06, 3:06 PM  

  • The scary thing is that $1900 represents a major cut in Christmas spending. We have a big family, and the gift exchanges we have set up on both sides of the family have cut our gift recipient list by 10! I would probably pass out if I had the data to track our Christmas spending from five or six years ago.

    I would also categorize our gift giving as being fun instead of giving me peace. As long as we continue to save and invest, we will share our good fortune with friends, family, and a few charities of our choice.

    By Blogger Frugal Frugalson, at 12/11/06, 11:27 AM  

  • My wife's side of the family has an adult gift lottery. For Christmas 2006 we did something different. Instead of buying a gift (max value $25), you were required to make a donation to a charitable organization in the person's name. It was fun to try and determine a "best fit" charity that matched with someone's interests. One sister-in-law is really into her house, so that donation went to Habitat for Humanity. Another is a really good cook - hers went to a local food shelf. My wife loves our dogs - a donation was made in her name to an animal shelter. I have several relatives that died of cancer, I received a donation to the American Cancer Society. None of us really needs any more "stuff" and this was a fun way to give a gift that someone could really use. And (in keeping with the spirit of your blog) receiving a tax deduction for the giver.

    By Anonymous Kevin Zemanek, at 3/26/07, 3:04 PM  

  • Thanks Kevin, the charity idea is a nice variation to the gift lottery idea. Unfortunately, I have a few selfish adult relatives on one side of the family that would never buy into that. :(

    By Blogger Frugal Frugalson, at 3/27/07, 4:52 PM  

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