Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the holiday shopping season is now upon us. With just a few weeks until Christmas day, many shoppers are feverishly trying to find the perfect meaningful gifts for everyone on their list. Between the shopping frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday to the last minute sales just before Christmas, the American commercialization of Christmas plays a very big part in how much the average American pays for all of his or her holiday expenses. Between gifts, holiday parties and decorations, Christmas in America seems to be getting more and more extravagant. Here is a look at the average cost of an American Christmas and a glance at why the cost of the holidays is steadily rising.

Americans Spending More on Gifts in 2016

According to a study performed by the American Research Group, Inc., Americans will be spending more money on gifts in 2016 than they did last year. In 2015, the average American spent $882 on holiday gifts. In 2016, it is expected that the average American will be spending $929 on gifts for friends and loved ones – surpassing $900 for the first time since 2006. It should come as no surprise that the average cost of gifts is so high. With advertisements for big sales everywhere, there is a greater chance for impulse buys and overspending.

Dramatic Upswing in Spending Since the 2008 Recession

In 2001, the average planned spending was $1,052 – the highest ever. After the recession in 2008, planned holiday shopping dropped to $417 in 2009 – less than half of what people plan to spend this year.

An increasing number people – now 55% – are planning on doing at least some of their holiday shopping online, and 61% are planning to wait for sales in order to save money.

The Bottom Line

Americans have been spending more on holiday gifts every year since 2008 with the exception of 2012, and although the holiday spending is still not back on the pre-recession trend, it seems to head in that direction – possibly thanks to lower unemployment, stronger growth and higher confidence in the economy.

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