Any Mall Santa and Claymation character will tell you that Christmas is a time of giving. Giving to loved ones and those less fortunate is the reason for the season, but how much is too much? Can you really give too much and how much are people in this country spending each year – and on what?

It’s All in the Numbers

At the end of every year, there are usually two things on a person’s mind – a Black Friday and a White Christmas. Did you know that the average American will spend upwards of about $749.51 on holiday-related expenses this year? This not only includes gifts but your decorations and your festive feasts, as well.

Of that amount, about $548.56 is spent on gifts starting at the top with family members before moving on down to friends and co-workers before trickling down for the rest (mostly pets and such). That’s a lot of money and it doesn’t help that this rampant notion of consumerism has only cheapened the meaning of the season overall.

“Sure, giving is great…but don’t you think you should GIVE them something name brand?”

Add to that, the overwhelming sense of urgency to give to your loved ones and you have a recipe for disaster that comes only once a year.

But I digress.

As crazy as consumer culture can make the holidays and as appalling as the numbers look on the infographic, it’s important not to forget the reason for the season which, above all else, is to consider and put the needs of others before your own.

And, sure, the best gifts are the ones with the thought and the passion behind them, but don’t let this information discourage you from getting something fancy from the mall every now and again.

How Americans are Spending Christmas Celebration