Opinion: Americans need to reallocate some of their holiday budget


Lucille Sanders

With unfathomable amounts being spent during the holidays, the traditional spirit has a monetary twist.

While the holiday season may seem like a time for hot chocolate, warm blankets, and a break from school, Americans are shopping themselves into a spending frenzy above all else, materializing the holiday spirit.  

Estimated to spend a total of up to $960 billion on holiday shopping in just the months of November and December, Americans have no intention of bringing back the basic holiday principle of generosity

Gifts and tacky decor are a vital part of most families’ Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations, but the traditional ideas of kindness and family are getting lost in excessive spending habits far too easily. 

Social media demonstrations of Christmas are no exception. Between gift “haul” videos and intense marketing from popular stores like Nordstrom and Macy’s, the traditional, nonmaterial holiday spirit has gone out of style.

To some, Christmas might seem like a time to take advantage of these sales or empty their paychecks to spoil kids that work hard throughout the year, but many children do not have access to this luxury.  

In 2021, the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs conducted a poll that found 40% of Americans struggling with holiday buying due to inflation, particularly those in households making an income of under $100,000. In 2021, the median household income was $71,186. This means that in the survey, even those making above the average household income were struggling to make ends meet during the holidays. 

Christmas is increasingly becoming a holiday for the wealthy, and since there is no solution in sight to mend the disparities between high and low-income households, perhaps the solution is changing the attitude altogether. With over 1.54 million charitable organizations in the U.S., there is no excuse for able families not to reallocate some of their gift-spending money.

Charitable Organizations by Lucille Sanders

Not only does charity help people in need, but it teaches young children to have principled attitudes. If kids grow up in a giving household, they will feel inclined to follow in their parent’s footsteps when they grow up. 

During the winter, families, friends, and happiness all meet in the same room to celebrate joy and togetherness, and when Xboxes and iPhones are thrown into the mix, the celebration shifts its focus. This does not go to say that gifts should be completely removed from the Christmas tradition. For those that have the privilege of receiving them, there is no arguing that the thrill of unwrapping a mysterious object is unlike no other.

Although, maybe it’s time to start putting some of our money towards donations instead of expensive gifts this year so we don’t end up with coal in our stockings next year.