June 7, 2023

By: Portia Wojton

The holiday season brings festivities, lights, and gift-giving. On the surface, the holidays are filled with joy. With recent changes in the economy, consumers are feeling financial hardships more than ever. This is putting a damper on the cheerful spirit of the holiday season.

“It’s already stressful enough doing Christmas shopping for four children, plus every other family member. Now that prices of groceries and gas and everything else have skyrocketed, I am more stressed than usual,” said Shreen Beshures, mother of four. 

Inflation has raised prices for goods and services by 8.2% in the past year. According to a survey done by Deloitte, 66% of respondents plan to be frugal this winter in order to cope with higher prices. Consumers are beginning to dread holiday shopping because of inflation.

Infographic by Portia Wojton, data taken from Alvarez and Marsal Survey

Alina Selyukah, a business correspondent at NPR, said, “Retailers themselves, actually, like Target and Kohl’s, have said that they are seeing people pull back from discretionary shopping because they’re spending so much on necessities like food and gas.”

Gas prices increased by 49% from January to June 2022. From August 2021 to August 2022, food prices increased by 13.5%.

“I can’t walk into Aldi and justify buying new food items that just came in or stuff that isn’t on my list,” said Beshures. “I used to walk in with 15 to 20 items on my list and come out with around 30 to 35. Looking at my grocery receipts made me realize I can’t do that anymore. Everything is just way too expensive.”

Spending on items other than basic necessities has dropped significantly.

Infographic by Portia Wojton, data taken from Alvarez and Marsal Survey

“I obviously want my kids to be happy on Christmas morning,” Beshures said. “I’m just going to have to spend a little bit less. Santa’s on a budget this year.”

With the holiday season in full swing, consumers are keeping a close eye on their wallets. It will take a little more than a plate of cookies and a glass of milk to get Santa to increase his holiday shopping budget.

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