Christmas Spending: How It Has Evolved & How To Stretch Your Budget

Millions of people around the world celebrate Christmas. But how did it become such a popular holiday? And how can you adapt Christmas spending to your budget? Keep reading to find out!

Published on 2022-12-02

It's almost that time merry time of the year. Christmas is one of the most popular holidays across different parts of the world. Like many traditions, Christmas has changed over the years —and so have spending habits in the US. In this article, you'll learn how Christmas came to be, how it has evolved, and how to make it work for your budget.

A Brief History of Christmas

Christmas originates from Roman and Pagan cultures. The Romans celebrated two holidays in December. The first was Saturnalia, a two-week festival honoring Saturn, the god of agriculture. On December 25th, they celebrated the birth of the sun god Mithra. Pagans lit bonfires and candles on the darkest day of the year, which also took place in December. The Romans later incorporated this tradition into their culture.

As Christianity began to spread across Europe, they adapted the festivities into a celebration of Jesus' birthday. Modern Christmas began to take shape in the 1800s. In 1870 President Ulysses S. Grant declared it a federal holiday. By 1881 the image of Santa Claus as a jolly, white-bearded man in a red suit bringing presents to children became synonymous with Christmas.

How Much Do Americans Spend on Christmas?

Besides spending time with loved ones, one of the vital parts of Christmas is gifting. And Americans love the art of gift-giving! On average, they spend $997.73 on presents and other holiday items. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), almost two-thirds of shoppers' holiday budget goes toward gifts.

Christmas spending has changed drastically over the last 20 years. In 2002, holiday sales laid at around 416.4 billion. Since then, the amount that Americans spend on average has doubled. In 2021, Christmas purchases grew to $886.7 billion.

But as inflation continues to weigh on their wallets, many Americans wonder how to evade overspending. Here's what you can do to enjoy a budget-friendly Christmas.

Tips to Make Christmas Work on a Budget

1. Avoid The Holiday Shopping Frenzy

One of the best ways to spend less on Christmas gifts is to avoid the holiday shopping frenzy. Not only are items scarce during that time, but they also tend to be more expensive. Make sure to shop ahead of time to get a good sale. Moreover, you will sidestep the stress of waiting in line for too long.

2. Set a Spending Limit

Being mindful of your budget is the first to avoid debt. So, before browsing the internet or heading off to the mall, set a spending limit for gifts. It will help you stay organized and avoid unnecessary expenses.

3. Make DIY Gifts

If your budget is too tight and you can't afford presents for your loved ones, don't worry! A homemade gift is an alternative that will save you money and time. Plus, it will hold a special meaning to your friends and family.

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