The holidays are meant to be a time for giving, gratitude, and love but now more than ever people are reporting that instead of having joyful feelings and thoughts about the holidays, they're feeling stressed out because of pressure to spend more money than they can afford to spend during the holiday season. According to a Bankrate survey that was conducted in early October which got the opinions of 2,628 U.S. adults, just over 60% of them claimed that they felt pressure to overspend around this time of the year.
Overspending includes everything related to preparing for the holidays but 51% specifically reported that they felt pressure when it came to buying presents.
Parents appear to carry more of this guilt with 71% of gift-giving parents who were surveyed saying that they've succumbed to spending more money than they were comfortable spending on holiday presents for their kids. Among parents surveyed, those with kids under the age of 18 felt the most pressure.
When it comes to hosting holiday parties, 51% say that they've gone over the budget that they initially set in an effort to make their guests happy. Traveling to go see family during the holidays is common but the issue of holiday travel is that it tends to be less flexible and more expensive. As a result, 47% of people who travel for the holidays say that they've spent too much on holiday travel. Many who traveled said that they did so out of obligation rather than because they wanted to travel and without that pressure, they would have opted to stay at home and save money.
It used to be that you didn't have to start worrying about the holidays until after Thanksgiving, but 27% of people surveyed said that they start to think about holiday spending as early as September. It seems as if the holiday season has become so stressful that it's caused people to lose their holiday spirit with 16% of people surveyed saying that they'd be willing to boycott the whole thing if given the chance.
As much as they'd like to boycott it, they most likely won't be able to which has caused them to have to get more creative with gift-giving to save money. Alternatives cited in the survey include regifting, buying second-hand gifts, making the most out of sales and coupons, giving homemade gifts and setting restrictions on which people they plan on buying gifts for.
The over-commercialization of the holiday season in the United States has caused this special time of the year to lose a lot of its true meaning but that doesn't mean that it can't be regained. With more focus on the things that we all love about the holidays like quality time spent with family and less focus on gifting, it's possible that we can get back to a place where the season is actually enjoyed rather than as seen as something that everyone is looking forward to getting over with.
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