Christmas, a reflective time, peaceful and joyful. Just as every year before, the strains of Last Christmas, All I want for Christmas, and Jingle Bells are sounding from every corner, in every shopping center and at every Christmas market.
The first snowflakes falling from the heavens, the warm lights embellishing the streets adding to the unique festive spirit of Christmas. A time of tranquility it should be, yet for so many it is a period of stress in the pursuit to finish the last items on their to-do lists before the year comes to an end. The time of rushing out to buy presents for loved ones. The uncertainty, as in years before, what to put under the Christmas tree.
As we travel back to our families, prepare for the festive days and contemplate what to eat on Christmas eve, the joy is mixed with a sense of urgency as the bank holidays are approaching. Some say we shouldn't spoil our children, others say Christmas only comes once per year; thus why not splash some cash. The truth of the matter, what most of us remember from our Christmases as children are one or two presents that we were eagerly awaiting from Santa. We remember singing songs with our grandparents, the special atmosphere that the spirit of Christmas somehow creates.
Yet as time has progressed, it occasionally appears that the spending part of Christmas has taken up more significance than the actual celebration. I recently read that in a survey conducted this Christmas period, only a fraction knew why we celebrate Christmas.
But enough of a sociological analysis of where Christmas is heading, let's focus on some hard facts. How much do others spend on Christmas presents?
How much do Americans spend on Christmas?
According to a report by the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend $ 1,000 this Christmas. Around $ 750 of that money are going toward presents. To put this into context, the average monthly salary of US Americans is around $ 3,750 before deductions such as tax and social security. If we assume a 27% deduction rate, the take home pay is $ 3,151. If we then deduct an average health insurance costs for one person of around $ 684 ($ 321 premium + $ 363 deductible per month), a US American has around $ 3,066 available. Of course, this is before rent, car insurance, grocery expenses, Netflix, Internet, and so forth.
WIth $ 1,000 and $ 750 dollars in the USA spent on Christmas and presents respectively, US Americans spend equally to one third of an average US salary during the festive period.
What about neighboring country Canada?
How much do Canadians spend on Christmas?
Canadians spend substantially less on Christmas. In fact, Canadians spend almost 40 % less on Christmas than their southern neighbors, $643 Canadian Dollars to be exact. While this is significantly less than US Americans, Canadians carry, according to Statistics Canada, substantial levels of debt.
Is the fest of love really worth putting more strain on one's finances? After all, it is the celebration of Christ, family, love, and peace.
How much do Australians spend on Christmas?
A bigger country, bigger Christmas spending. Australians are planning to spend $ 1,325 over the holiday season of which $ 464 go towards presents. Amazingly 40% of Christmas spending was on credit leaving many Aussies to regret their massive Christmas spending according to an article on news.com.au.
Regret shouldn't be part of the festive season.
How much do Europeans spend on Christmas?
The approach to Christmas across Europe is as varied as their languages and cultures. Thus, it is hardly surprising that their spending habits at Christmas are just as diverse.
Brits will splash out £ 567 ($ 717) this Christmas. According to Deloitte UK spending is thus 42 percent above the European average. To put this into context, the average UK net salarys about £ 1,466 ($ 1,854), explaining why one quarter of Brits, particularly younger ones feel a massive strain on their finances. Somehow Christmas turned into a social pressure exercise where expectations put massive pressure on people. Rather ironic during times of joy and a festival that represents life and love. Half of the UK Christmas budget will go on Christmas presents: on average, the British spend £ 299 ($ 378) on presents, the rest on food, drinks, and traveling.
Across the Channel, Christmas spending is significantly lower. The Spanish plan on spending € 585 ($ 740), Austrians € 528 ($ 668) of which € 252 ($ 319) and € 227 ($ 287) respectively are dedicated for Christmas presents.
Other Europeans are planning to spend more on Christmas presents for their friends and loved ones. Germans plan on spending anywhere between € 282 and € 472 on Christmas presents, their neighbors to the West, the French will splash € 571 on Christmas of which € 340 are dedicated for presents.
Further East in Russia, Santas are planning on spending RUB 16,900. 42 percent or RUB 7,098 of that budget are used to buy presents for Christmas. Apparently, money is also one of the most popular gifts in Russia, only superseded by cosmetics and chocolate.
The Irish top the list when it comes to Christmas spending. According to a report, the Irish will spend € 808 on Christmas. € 210 of the Irish budget will are dedicated to presents putting them below the European average.
If you are interested in how these figures have changed since Christmas 2016, check out the article Christmas Spending.
The madness of Christmas spendings
Most of these figures aren't strikingly out of the extraordinary. However, some people have decided to take Christmas spending to extremes.
A mother from Australia decided to spend $ 3,000 AUD on her children. Apparently she bought enough presents to fill fourteen cupboards. It is questionable that all these presents will ever be fully appreciated and used by her children. But each to their own.
No matter how much we are all spending on presents, the most important thing about Christmas is to enjoy the time with your loved ones and indulge in the festive spirits.
Merry Christmas to all you dear Readers.