Niagara Gazette

Columns

December 25, 2013

BRADBERRY: What IS Christmas, really?

Niagara Gazette — The National Retail Federation projected holiday sales to rise 3.9 percent this year to $602.1 billion. At least $72 billion of that will be spent on “obligatory holiday season travel” according to Hotwire’s American Travel Behavior Survey conducted by Harris International earlier this year.

And pollster Gallup’s analysis indicated that on average, American adults will spend $786 on Christmas gifts this year. “U.S. Adults’ Estimate of Their Total Christmas Spending” concluded last October that “Nearly nine in 10 U.S. adults say they will spend some amount of money this year on Christmas gifts.”

Thirty percent, identical to last year, plan to spend at least $1,000, and half plan to spend at least $500. Only three percent intend to spend less than $100.”

Apparently, two of the hottest gifts this year, the PlayStation4 and the Xbox One will set some parents back at least $400 to $500 while gift cards will likely top millions of wish lists again this year.

Gallup further reported that last year Americans spent just over $400 on gifts for family, $75 for friends, and about $25 on gifts for co-workers while nearly 60 percent of shoppers purchased gifts for themselves.

There are several annual shopping surveys that try to predict our holiday shopping habits, though they rarely agree on the precise numbers, they also rarely miss the trends.

One shopping analyst’s website known as “the Prowl” conducted a survey of 511 mothers on holiday spending finding that “mothers expect to spend $224 on average for gifts for each child and almost the same amount on gifts for their husband or partner.”

I’m certainly not trying to sound like Scrooge, here, but I have to ask, “Why do we do this, what’s the point?”

While I completely get and appreciate the concept of exchanging gifts at this time of year, I must admit, I don’t quite comprehend the emphasis on the economy of it all.

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