This Is How Much the Average American Will Spend on Christmas This Year

iStock.com/CatLane
iStock.com/CatLane

The average American will spend $633 on Christmas this year, according to a new poll by LendEDU, an online marketplace for financial products. That’s enough money to buy two 43-inch televisions, an Alaskan cruise, or roughly 250 tacos.

For LendEDU’s poll, 1000 adults who celebrate Christmas were asked how much they expect to spend this year on decorations, gifts, travel, and other holiday-related expenses. Unsurprisingly, your dearest friends and family place the greatest strain on your wallet, with gifts accounting for 54 percent of overall spending, or around $342. Travel is the second-largest expense, accounting for $133 of the total budget. Other holiday expenses cost $89, while decorations are expected to set the average family back $70.

While this may seem like a lot of money to throw away on a holiday, it represents a $75 drop in spending from last Christmas, according to LendEDU’s figures. Still, 22 percent of poll respondents said they expect to go into debt as a result of their Christmas spending. On average, those Americans said they anticipate being $554 in the red this year.

One of the more surprising findings is that families are still doing much of their Christmas shopping in brick and mortar outlets. Of the poll respondents, 51 percent said they planned to buy most of their gifts at a store, while 46 percent said they would do their shopping online. Two percent said they were making their own presents, while one percent still relied on good old-fashioned catalogs.

There are ways to cut back on Christmas spending, but it will require some careful deliberations. If you still need to do some last-minute shopping but don’t want to break the bank this Christmas, check out these 11 gifts that cost $10-$25.

Amazon's Best Cyber Monday Deals on Tablets, Wireless Headphones, Kitchen Appliances, and More

Amazon
Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Cyber Monday has arrived, and with it comes some amazing deals. This sale is the one to watch if you are looking to get low prices on the latest Echo Dot, Fire Tablet, video games, Instant Pots, or 4K TVs. Even if you already took advantage of sales during Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday still has plenty to offer, especially on Amazon. We've compiled some the best deals out there on tech, computers, and kitchen appliances so you don't have to waste your time browsing.

Computers and tablets

Amazon

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet 64GB; $120 (save $70)

- Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet 64GB; $84 (save $35)

- HP Pavilion x360 14 Convertible 2-in-1 Laptop; $646 (save $114)

- HP Pavilion Desktop, 10th Gen Intel Core i3-10100 Processor; $469 (save $81)

- Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop; $973 (save $177)

Headphones and speakers

Beats/Amazon

- Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones; $200 (save $100)

- Sony Bluetooth Noise-Canceling Wireless Headphones; $278 (save $72)

- JBL LIVE Wireless Headphones; $100 (save $30)

- JBL Charge 4 - Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $120 (save $10)

- Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker II; $79 (save $50)

- Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earphones; $200 (save $50)

Video Games

Sony

- Watch Dogs Legion; $30 (save $30)

- Marvel's Avengers; $27 (save $33)

- Ghost of Tsushima; $40 (save $20)

- The Last of Us Part II; $30 (save $30)

TECH, GADGETS, AND TVS

Samsung/Amazon

- Amazon Fire TV Stick; $30 (save $20)

- Echo Show 8; $65 (save $65)

- Nixplay Digital Picture Frame; $115 (save $65)

- eufy Smart Doorbell; $90 (save $30)

- Samsung 75-Inch Class Crystal 4K Smart TV; $898 (save $300)

home and Kitchen

Ninja/Amazon

- T-fal 17-Piece Cookware Set; $124 (save $56)

- Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Curved Round Chef's Oven; $180 (save $136)

- Ninja Foodi 10-in-1 Convection Toaster Oven; $195 (save $105)

- Roborock E4 Robot Vacuum Cleaner; $189 (save $111)

- Instant Pot Max Pressure Cooker 9 in 1; $80 (save $120)

- Shark IZ362H Cordless Anti-Allergen Lightweight Stick Vacuum; $170 (save $110)

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

How Zoom Santas Are Connecting With Kids Virtually in 2020

Tim Mossholder, Unsplash
Tim Mossholder, Unsplash

In his 21 years as a professional Santa, Mr. Kringle of Mr. Kringle & Company has dealt with every type of temperament and gift request from his young clientele. But 2020 presented him with a new challenge: How was he supposed to connect with kids when he couldn’t be near them? As was the case with so many issues this year, the internet was the answer.

“It’s not the real in-person visit, but it’s still a personal visit,” Mr. Kringle told Mental Floss. “And kids already understand what’s happening on Zoom. They’re already Zooming their classrooms to some degree and have been doing it for a few months now, so they understand it, and they understand the dynamic.”

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Kringle is one of many Santas offering virtual meet-and-greets this holiday season. For $48 to $58, families can sign up to have a personal streaming session with Santa Claus from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Prerecorded messages from Father Christmas himself are also available for $28.

Meetings kicked off on November 21, and Mr. Kringle has already seen an incredible response. “We’re having an international reach," he says. "A lot of people are reaching out to us from Canada. We heard of an inquiry from India today. People are looking to engage with Mr. Kringle, and given this technology, it can happen any time and any place.”

Even Santas who have experience connecting with kids virtually anticipate a very different holiday season in 2020. The Cameo Santa has been a professional Santa for decades and on Cameo for the last three years. He tells Mental Floss that this season he’s expecting to get five times the amount of requests he got this same time last year.

“In my 26 years of being a professional Santa, probably the most parties I have had in one day was five,” the Cameo Santa says. “Being the Cameo Santa has given me the opportunity to touch many more lives and spread way more Christmas spirit than I ever could’ve dreamed was possible.” In addition to recording personalized Cameos for $65, he’s also available for Zoom meetings.

Santas are employing some creative strategies this year in an effort to keep everyone healthy. At the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, kids are forbidden from sitting on Santa’s lap, and they can only interact with him from a distance. At Aalborg Zoo in Denmark, Santa is ensconced in a snow globe.

Still, a virtual meeting is the safest option for families hoping to see Santa this year, and beyond the health aspect, it comes with some surprising benefits.

The Cameo Santa recalls a review he received from one mother describing the immediate impact of his video message. “I started mentioning the things the children needed to work on to stay on the nice list, and that was to start keeping their room clean," he says. "So that was the first thing I mentioned in my mild but firm suggestions [of] what to do. She said she could not stop laughing, because right there in the middle of the Cameo, both boys jumped up and ran to their rooms and started cleaning the room up! Talk about impact. Ho ho ho!”

For Mr. Kringle of Mr. Kringle & Company, the biggest upside to meeting children through Zoom is the opportunity to continue a tradition in a year when so much has been put on hold. He says, “I would hate to think you’ve got a 7-, 8-, 9-year-old who's on the brink—you know what I mean?—and the year goes by with no visit from Santa. That they can still have this will maybe keep them believing one more year.”