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The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The cost of Christmas; 2022 may be different

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Emma Vaaler
An average home in the US spent $100-$300 on Christmas lights in 2021.

The holidays are an expensive time of year: gifts, home decor , food, exterior lights and different activities with family and friends can quickly become pricey. 

In 2021, the average American  spent $866 on Christmas-related products. This results in a total of $942-$960 billion being spent by Americans during the holiday season each year. People in the US spend up to 156% of their monthly income in the month before Christmas.

Around Christmas, it is common to hear comments about spending money and the expectations people have in regards to giving gifts. As it has become popular to host Christmas parties and organize activities such as Secret Santa, White Elephant and work parties, there is a growing societal expectation to spend money during the holidays.

Senior Brooklyn Gowan associates people’s willingness to spend money on Christmas gifts with the importance of the season. “The Christmas season generates happy and warm feelings. This creates more pressure to be able to give people gifts around Christmas time to show appreciation and thoughtfulness,” she said. Gift giving allows people to connect with one another as well as celebrate the holidays. 

With the heavy cost of Christmas on top of other everyday costs, many people go into debt during the holiday season. Many people who already struggle to make ends meet or are on a tight budget find themselves in difficult situations when the price tags of presents and decorations begin to add up. Some people feel uncomfortable, but feel they cannot step away from the tradition of buying gifts and spending large sums of money at this time of year. 

This stigma surrounding holiday spending is something senior Avery Menke has already noticed as a high school student. “Since getting gifts for my close friends and family as well as participating in many different Secret Santa’s within my workplace as well as at school, all of the presents add up to a lot of money being spent. By the time Christmas is done I feel as if I have broken my bank account. I still feel as if it is still important to be able to give,” she said. The gift giving stigma and and willingness of people to spend so much money on Christmas has created a social norm which leads people to ‘stand out’ when they do not do these. 

Along with gift giving at a high cost, large sums of money are thrown towards decorating and food. Shopping is chaotic as a result of this with retailers often having to overhire at this time of year. This year though, is expected to have an increase in cost due to inflation which may lead to less high volume spending. 

In an article Entrepreneur writer Daniel Altmen explains about consumers, shopping and money spent during the holiday season and the way it may change this year, “Signs have pointed to a weaker holiday season, too. Major retailers haven’t hired as many holiday workers as usual, even though more Americans are looking for holiday jobs,”, he said. Prices will be up 7.1% in 2022 from 2021 as a result of inflation which not only increases the overall cost of Christmas but the pressure to spend money as well. People need to work more as a result of the current economic climate while major retailers are not hiring as much as past holiday seasons due to the expected decrease in spending for these same reasons.

The money spent during the holidays is high every year. This year it is especially high but as a result of inflation. People may shy away from high spending this year but as the ideal Christmas is seen everywhere between gift giving and decorations alone, the cost of Christmas will be high as it is every year. 

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Emma Vaaler
Emma Vaaler, Photo Manager
Emma Vaaler is a senior at Pleasant Valley and will be serving as the photo manager of the Spartan Shield this year. She is 17 years old, was a dancer for most of her life, and lived overseas for seven years in Finland and Russia. She is a lifeguard at the Outing Club and a barista at Dunn Brothers Coffee. Emma is looking forward to graduating in May and attending an undecided university to major in marketing. She loves to travel and has spent a huge part of her life taking trips around the world with her family exploring new cultures. Emma enjoys being on frontline, cheering on PV student-athletes, and is excited for the rest of the year. In her free time, she spends time with friends, getting coffee, and playing with her dog, Apollo. Emma enjoys writing and managing social media and is excited about her role in the Spartan Shield this year.   
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The cost of Christmas; 2022 may be different