Americans would rather spend time, not money, this holiday season

If you’re looking to show your loved ones how much you care about them, don’t buy them anything.

Instead, just hang out with them. Nearly 70 percent of Americans would ditch gift-giving to just hang out with their friends and family, according to a survey from SunTrust.

The survey says that instead of exchanging gifts, many Americans would prefer spending time with family and friends over buying presents for them. This is just more proof that holiday debt affects a lot of people, so much so that they are looking for ways to avoid giving presents and thus, spending money.

“The holidays are full of joy, celebration and an unmentioned pressure to spend,” says Brian Nelson Ford, financial well-being executive at SunTrust. “During a time of year when financial stress is traditionally high, a little smart spending, preparation and planning can lead to financial confidence and enhance the joy of the season.”

Financial stress is already a big issue many Americans face daily, so as the holidays are in full swing, anxiety about money is even higher than normal. And it should stress us all out that holiday spending will top $100 billion this season. That’s nearly 14 percent more than last year. This means that despite our financial anxiety, we’re going to spend money anyway.

Even as online and mobile shopping continues to grow, Adobe Analytics estimates a 10 percent jump for in-store purchases. Brick-and-mortar stores have the advantage of pricing items lower — making shoppers more vulnerable to picking up items they might not even need — smaller, online stores won’t be affected too much. Adobe says smaller retailers have mobile on their side: These stores have a higher conversion rate than their big-store peers.

“This year’s record-breaking online holiday shopping season is built on the strength of the big players,” says Mickey Mericle, a VP at Adobe. “We predict the biggest retailers with wide selections, easy shopping experiences, and free shipping, to drive online holiday growth this year. Still, there is an opportunity for savvy small retailers to win, specifically with mobile experiences. As revenue growth plateaus, retailers will be competing hard for customers by offering steep discounts and providing a seamless customer journey.”

As retailers are doing their best to attract customers and lure those customers into buying more gifts, Americans are facing even more pressure to buy gifts. The mounting pressure is only giving them more motivation into non-gift-giving fun, like time, rather than money.

For those that are dreading making purchases, here is what most people are looking for this holiday season, according to Adobe.

  • Apple Air Pods
  • Sony PlayStation
  • Amazon Echo and Google Home
  • Hasbro NERF Guns
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Super Mario Odyssey

Holiday shopping is already starting earlier than ever, so make sure you are sticking to your list. Here are some ideas for gamers and here for hipsters. And don’t forget your furry friends.

If you’re lost and unsure of how to get (and keep!) your holiday spending in check, make a budget. Just like your monthly budget, allot yourself a certain amount to spend. Make sure it’s within reason, so only buy gifts for people you deem worthy.

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Budgeting & Saving, Family

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Article last modified on January 2, 2019 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: We Hate Giving Presents - AMP.