OUR VIEW: Americans spend a ton on holiday shopping, so spend that money locally

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The average American family spends $1,000 on Christmas each year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Approximately 65% of that total is spent on gifts for friends and family, with the rest being spent on food, decorations and other non-gift purchases. That’s a lot of money. The holiday season gets us in the mood to give back to those we love and care about, and our wallets are open and ready to spend.

And the NRF data shows the amount we spend as a country increases every year. 

In 2002, holiday sales in the United States totaled $416.4 billion. In 2021, it was $886.7 billion, more than double. The statistics show that Americans are spending more on gifts for their family ($514 last year) while there has been relatively no change in cost of gifts for coworkers or others over the years. 

And if you’re looking for that perfect gift for someone, it might be surprising that gift cards ranked as the number one preferred gift for both men and women with 48% of men and 64% of women preferring them. However, if your significant other opens a gift card you bought and isn’t happy on Christmas morning, don’t come yelling at us. 

Clothing and accessories ranked second for both genders and books and other media ranked third. Electronics and sporting goods ranked fourth and fifth for men, while home décor and furnishings and personal care and beauty ranked fourth and fifth for women.

When looking at all of these statistics, it’s hard not to think about all of the tax dollars our community would benefit from if everyone simply stayed within Troup County to shop. We know that’s hard to do, but a significant portion of the money spent each year in our community is from the holiday season, when people are buying more than they are at other times of the year.

Our Friday and Saturday newspapers focused on Small Business Saturday, a day meant to focus on local businesses in our communities nationwide. We hope you spent some time shopping at a local business this weekend, but if not, we hope you’ll consider doing so during the next few weeks.

We know the shopping options in Troup County aren’t as vast as they are in some other, nearby communities, but we encourage you to start local. You might be surprised what you find.