Friday, 14 November 2014

The Holiday Season

I've been trying to ignore it for as long as I could, but it started before Halloween.  First it was a Christmas display at The Bay in late September, next they brought out the "festive" coffee sleeves at my morning watering hole and now with The Santa Clause Parade this weekend there is no denying it.  Winter is coming!  Okay, this isn't the world's most convoluted path to a blog entry about Game of Thrones, it's my acceptance of the fact that there are now only 40 days until Christmas.

This year we're paying particularly close attention to our budget and making sure that our holiday celebration focuses on what's important to us, family, rather than just the commercial aspect of the festive season.  Over the next few weeks I'll be providing some information on spending habits, ideas on saving cash as well as holiday traditions.  The first in my series focuses on the financial aspect of the holidays.  Thanks to a little help from some wonderful people, here's what I found out on holiday spending.  If you've never thought about holiday budgets, I hope this starts a conversation that will make your holiday giving a little less stressful.

holiday photos
Christmas 2012


Do you have a holiday budget?
About half of the people I spoke with don't have a set holiday budget, but most people try to keep tabs on what they spend.  Everyone I spoke with wishes they could find more ways to save money during the holidays as budgets can skyrocket into thousands of dollars when you include the costs of entertaining, food, gifts, greeting cards and travel.

How do you pay for your holiday gifts?
It was a pretty even split between cash, credit to fund their holiday spending. Most people try to use cash when they can to avoid an unpleasant surprise when the credit card statement comes in January, others cash in reward miles to save.

What's most likely to break your budget or increase your spending significantly?
"Last minute shopping.  If we can get out ahead we're better planned and spend less." said CH.
"Santa breaks our budget on big ticket items." said Needs Naps.
"If I see something that screams someone's name then I'm willing to go over budget."said J.

How much do you pay (per child) for holiday gifts (including Santa and stockings - please provide an approximate breakdown for each if you have this)?
People are generally spending around $200-300 for their own children and between $20-$100 for friend's kids, nieces or nephews.  Most people spend around $30-$40 on stockings with costs going up to $100 per stocking for folks who buy practical items like underwear and socks.

Where do you shop for most of your kids gifts (Discount chains, online, local shops etc)?
Online (Amazon), Ebay, Etsy, small independent shops in the neighbourhood, Chapters, Toys R Us, Target, Joe Fresh, Once Upon A Child, Good Will, Gap, Old Navy, Joe Fresh.

Stay tuned for my holiday series posts on alternative gifts, saving money and staying on budget.  If you want to fill out one of my holiday giving surveys drop me a line at

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