Winter Holiday Spending Per Capita

Written by Carly Hallman

How much money do people spend on Christmas by state?
Some states seem to focus on the simple things, like Oklahoma, which only spends about $796 per capita per year. Compare that to the Santa Claus of the states, New Hampshire, which spends more than $1,567 per capita per year. Wow, they certainly love their holiday cheer! In the majority of states, though, people spend around a thousand dollars every year.

Holiday Spending per Capita
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How does the winter holiday season compare to other holiday shopping statistics?
It’s important to note that these figures also lump together other winter holidays like Hanukkah and Kwanzaa into one huge metric. Holiday spending statistics show that these winter holidays completely dwarf other spending sprees. The total of winter holiday spending stands at around $678 billion, but the figures for what America spends money on during the rest of the year are much smaller. The next in line, the back-to-school season, is a fraction of that, just $83 billion. Though the largest slice of this winter holiday spending pie is likely Christian, Americans spend a little less than 3 percent on Easter of what they spend on Christmas.

Should I use this to figure out how much to spend on Christmas gifts this year?
Yes and no. Christmas in America is a bit more complicated than averages. The average amount spent on Christmas usually combines some extremes; in other words, some families spend thousands of dollars, and others can barely afford the holiday season. While many spend around a thousand every year, the average amount adults plan on spending for holiday-related items is $419. If you’re strapped for cash, don’t let the average Christmas spending statistics influence your budget. Holiday retail sales have continuously gone up, and keeping up with the Joneses can lead to a massive amount of post-holiday debt.

How should a family plan for holiday spending?
Create a budget and stick to it. It’s not always easy, but it’s the best way to handle the season, which also usually features an increase in energy costs. Don’t catch the holiday spending fever, and use a family strategy that works for you. While you should pay attention to holiday sales, don’t fall victim to a false sense of urgency. Above all, remember that you don’t have to prove your love through gifts. As so many holiday TV specials preach, the winter season is about family, friends, and much more than just how much you spend!

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